LAHORE- One more measles patient died at a Lahore hospital on Saturday, taking the death toll in the city to 74. So far, 129 children have died of measles in the province. 

Mehwish, nine months, breathed her last at Children’s Hospital.

As many as 188 more patients were admitted to different hospitals in the province including 42 in Lahore. So far 15,233 measles patients have been admitted to government hospitals in the province, including 4,642 in Lahore.

After having wreaked havoc in Sindh, the measles monster has been on a killing spree in Punjab and the most populous and ‘developed’ province has been deprived of more than ten dozen lives since the onslaught. In January, the then minister admitted in the Senate that ‘poor handling’ resulted in the outbreak of measles, which killed 232 children in 11 districts of Sindh. He praised the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for ‘better management’. No one was punished for the deaths of children in Sindh, so no one in Punjab needs to worry about it. Lahore and its suburbs are the worst hit where the government ‘successfully’ concluded a nine-day vaccination campaign on May 9. The government plans to launch a drive in rest of the province in June, despite clear warnings from the health experts that a piecemeal campaign will seriously compromise its effectiveness.

Essential drugs have gone missing even from the emergency and measles ward, causing huge inconvenience to the attendants of patients who have to go out in scorching heat to purchase even low cost drugs that ultimately cause inordinate delay in the start of treatment.

With the measles reaching alarming proportions in the province, most of the cash strapped hospitals are not providing necessary medicines like I/V line, Inj Kalaricid, cough syrup, Vit A and Nilstat drops. There is an acute shortage of necessary medicines at the measles section of Jinnah Hospital, said YDA spokesman Dr Khurram Shahzad.

At the Mayo Hospital, doctors said that about two dozens of necessary drugs and disposables were not available and patients at emergency and measles ward were asked to purchase these items from the market. Ringer lactate, Normal Saline, Dripsets, ECG chest electrodes, Syringes 5cc, 10cc, 20cc, surgical gloves, Inj Atracurium, Inj Lopressor, Inj Vepressor, Inj Avil, Inj Xylocaine, Lignocaine gel, Vicryl 1/0, Vicryl 2/0, Vicryl 3/0, Prolene 4/0, Endotracheal tube no 7, Silk 1/0, Inj Dormicum, Liga clips for lap chole, Glucometer strips and Hemecel are not available at Mayo Hospital. “Absence of necessary drugs is delaying treatment due to the time consumed in bringing them from outside. Sometime this delay can prove fatal for patients”, said a doctor at Mayo Hospital.