MULTAN-The Punjab government is going to launch an anti-measles vaccination campaign across the province from October 15, during which 19.8 million children, aging six month to seven years will be vaccinated.

Speakers at a media awareness seminar disclosed on Saturday that the government has allocated Rs5 billion for the campaign which would continue till October 27. A total of 12,000 teams have been constituted to successfully vaccinate the children while arrangements to ensure availability of vaccine at over 4,000 hospitals, basic health centres and health centres have also been made.

Addressing the seminar, Prof Dr Imran Iqbal said that measles is caused by a virus which could infect others. He disclosed that the government spends Rs10,000 on vaccination of each child which is being done for free. He asked parents to take their children to any nearby health outlet for vaccination.

Director Food Sciences Department, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Prof Saeed Akhtar, said that measles is a major disease that attacks Pakistani kids. He said that the time has come to eradicate this virus from Pakistan. He pointed out that 55 per cent children in Punjab are suffering from malnutrition while 90 percent girls face iron deficiency. He stressed the need for provision of balanced diet to the children, saying a decline in the growth and height of 45 per cent children was noticed in Pakistan due to unbalanced diet which was alarming.

CEO Education Mukhtar Hussain said that media and mediamen were eyes, ears and identity of this society and their cooperation to create awareness among masses could prove a game changer. He disclosed that the administration of all schools was directed to cooperate with the health department for the vaccination.

Director Health Multan Dr Shahid Bokhari, Ikhlaq Ahmad Khan, Irum Saleemi and others said that social mobilisation was imperative for making the measles vaccination drive successful.

They added that the citizens should get their kids vaccinated as healthy kids would form a healthy society.

PLANTATION DRIVE

The district administration has launched a plantation drive in connection with Green Punjab scheme under which 10000 saplings will be planted at and around Qila Qasim Bagh.

Deputy Commissioner Mudassar Riaz Malik visited Qila Qasim Bagh on Saturday and issued order for installation of water sprinklers at the Qila to save resources and water the plants in an efficient manner.

The DC disclosed on this occasion that date trees were also being planted to highlight the culture of this town.

He directed the PHA chairman to ensure deployment of PHA staff at the Qila permanently for keeping its green belts and grounds green. He asked concerned officials to evolve a strategy for upgrading the art gallery set up at the Qila. He issued order for putting security at red alert on eve of urs of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya. He directed Auqaf officials to make appropriate residential arrangements for the faithful visiting Multan for Urs besides providing them transport.