LAHORE - Dehydration due to septicaemia, gastroenteritis and improper handling of patients by a quack has resulted in the death of two children, reveals a report submitted by the committee constituted by Health Department for probing Bahawalpur incident.

14-month-old Sakina Aslam and 11-month-old Qasim Faiz from Union Council Jhandani of Khairpur Tamewali, district Bahawalpur lost their lives on October 8, a day after administering polio and measles vaccine. Dozens of children below five years of age developed diarrhoea, fever and vomiting after vaccination.

As per the insider sources, three separate teams probed the incident after preliminary investigation of EDO Health Bahawalpur. Commissioner, Special Branch and team of Health Department investigated the matter and submitted identical reports.

The inquiry committee headed by Head of Paediatrics Department Nishter Medical College Multan Prof Qasim Ali Khan Khachi, in its report submitted to the Health Department on Tuesday, attributed the death of children to dehydration and delay in adequate treatment and not reaction after administering vaccine.

Other committee members include Additional Director EPI Dr Sohail Ahmed and experts from WHO and UNICEF.

The committee interviewed the patients admitted to Bahawal Victoria Hospital Bahawalpur, THQ Hospital Hasilpur and BHU Jhandani as well as residents of the village and adjoining areas. The officials at BHU Jhandani were also interrogated. The vaccine given to vaccinator was taken in custody and examined along with relevant record i.e. permanent register, daily registers, stock registers and vaccination history and cards.

Besides collecting the blood and stool samples of patients, the committee gathered water samples from the affected village and sent the same to the epidemiological laboratory for bacteriological examination. The investigation revealed that five out of seven collected samples were contaminated with e-coli and human faeces.

Based on investigations, analysis of recorded data, symptoms and statements of patients and their relatives, the cause of death was attributed to dehydration and delay in adequate treatment vis-à-vis septicaemia and gastroenteritis. Among 24 patients reported with gastroenteritis from the area, 13 had not received any immunisation. Five patients were referred to THQ Hospital Hasilpur.

EDO Bahawalpur had set up emergency medical camp and found many children severely dehydrated with same symptoms following the reports of these complications on October 8.

The committee recommended creating awareness among parents regarding lethality of gastroenteritis among children. The report also suggested stringent action against quacks operating in the area who mismanaged the patients and aggravated their conditions.

In developed countries, rota virus vaccine for gastroenteritis has already been introduced in immunisation program. Punjab has planned to introduce rota virus vaccine by the end of 2016.