LAHORE  - Despite 7,512 cases of measles so far in Punjab, measles is under control and its vaccine is available in all hospitals of the province.

This was stated by Director Extended Programme for Immunization (EPI) Punjab, Dr Tanveer Ahmed, in an exclusive interview with APP here on Sunday.

Commenting on the rising threat of measles in different parts of the country, he said 2,500 vaccinators, 1,000 lady health visitors and 47,000 lady health workers were involved in handling measles and other viral diseases in Punjab.

Dr Tanveer, who has been handling the EPI for the last oneyear, said 450,000 children had been vaccinated during the current drive since November.

To a question about the strategy of the health department to tackle the matter, he said that an action plan consisting of five points was being implemented which included routine immunization, mop up activities which mean complete vaccination of a village or at least 160 houses, 40 each from all four sides in a city of a suspected case of measles.

Every three to four months mass campaign, public awareness and proper treatment are the other three points of the strategy of the health department, he added.

Dr Tanveer claimed that 19 deaths were reported during the last five months due to measles while for the last one and a half month there was no death anywhere in Punjab which was an example of the successful strategy adopted by the health department. 

To another question, Director EPI said  that WHO, UNICEF and Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization(GAVI) were  main cooperating partners with the government. WHO bears all mobilization cost of the staffers through Direct Disbursement Mechanism (DDM) while Unicef cooperates in social mobilization including arranging of seminars, awareness programme etc while GAVI provides vaccines.

In case of a measles suspect, contact a doctor and take vitamin A capsules immediately, he prescribed.

Regarding the treatment, he said that Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine is 100 percent effective for measles patients.

In his message, Dr Tanveer appealed to parents to administer vaccines to their children to avert measles and other viral diseases.

Six X-rays machines out of order in Services Hospital: Six out of seven X-rays machines have been out of order in Service Hospital for the last two months, hospital sources said on Sunday.

According to sources, both CT-scan machines one at Outdoor Patients Department (OPD) and the other at basement are also out of order which were repaired one month ago.

Six out of total seven X-rays machines are out of order in the hospital. One machine at main X-ray block is working which may also go out of order due to the extra burden. Most patients have to get X-ray from private laboratories where charges are Rs 400 against hospital charges of Rs 100.

Mostly needy and poor patients visit the public sector hospital which now is going out of their reach.

Patients in the hospital appealed to high-ups of the health department to take notice of the the situation.

When contacted, a hospital official said they were unable to repair the machines due to shortage of funds.