KARACHI  - At least six infants have died over the last 24 hours in Sindh’s Tharparker district due to viral infections and malnutrition. 

Dawn.com Saturday reported that the infants breathed their last in Mithi Civil Hospital and other government hospitals in the desert region, raising the toll to 47 this month and more than 155 this year alone, said sources privy to the health department. 

The children were admitted to government-run hospitals for medical attention by their parents who complained of lack of facilities, including life-saving drugs. The parents demanded that proper medical facilities be provided within their respective villages so they are spared the miles-long trip to Mithi town in the desert heat. 

Despite repeated attempts, neither the district health officer nor the civil surgeon of Mithi Civil Hospital could be contacted for comment on the unabated deaths of newborns and infants in Thar. 

It is pertinent to mention that the local health officials were told not to share details with the media after the Supreme Court had taken suo moto notice in April last year of the deaths of five children in Mithi Civil Hospital. 

Health and nutrition experts, including the CEO of Health and Nutrition Development Society (Hands) Shaikh Dr Tanwer Ahmed ─ whose organisation is working for healthcare development in Thar ─ are of the opinion that malnutrition, poverty, frequent droughts and early marriages among Tharis are the prime factors behind the deaths.