KASUR-Five children including two siblings, died of reported diphtheria outbreak in village Kul during the past two weeks while 12 more are fighting for their lives in Children Hospital Lahore.

Residents of the village held the Health Department responsible for their kids’ deaths, raising questions why the Kanganpur Hospital is not equipped with modern equipment? Why patients are referred to Lahore for treatment? They also condemned EDO Health Dr Tariq Masood’s apathy whose indifference to his duty allegedly claimed five lives.

Talking to media, the residents of Kul Village including Col (r) Sardar Hashim Dogar, Khan Wali Khan said that five children - Afzal, 7, Ayesha, 5, Asma, 8, Beenish, 9 and Tahir, 3- died of the infectious disease diphtheria. They expressed concerns over the unexpected outbreak of the disease in the village which devoured five lives during the past two weeks. They termed it negligence of the Health Department, informing that when a Diphtheria case was diagnosed in Kul, they called on EDO Health Dr Tariq Masood and urged him to take immediate steps to control the disease. “But the EDO did not even bother to comment on our request and treated us rudely,” they alleged, adding that the EDO also shouted to leave the office, using bad language.

Besides five kids died due to Diphtheria, 12 more children are suffering from the disease and have been referred to Lahore Children Hospital. Kanganpur Hospital neither has the capacity to serve the patients nor facilities to treat them properly, they said. “As the kids died due to Diphtheria, the unexpected spread of the disease and appearance of 12 more cases sparked panic across the village and the residents, having no resources to prevent their children falling victim to the disease, engulfed by an unknown fear,” they regretted. Some time back, dengue cases were also diagnosed in Kasur but the administration suppressed the news and did not let it spread to hide their negligence, they informed.

“The EDO and other officials make thousands of rupees by making fake TA/DA slips,” they alleged, adding that there is a huge shortage of medicines in the hospitals and the hospitals’ equipment are being used either in doctors’ private clinics or officials’ houses,” they alleged. They informed that Kasur DCO Ammara Khan also wrote application to the Punjab government, seeking transfer of the EDO Health but having political influence at his back, no action could be taken against him.

Terming the CM Advisor on Health Salman Rafique’s visit an eye-wash, they demanded that Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif should visit Kasur and sympathise with the aggrieved families. They also demanded stern action against the negligent officials, adding that the EDO Health Dr Masood should be suspended immediately. They also urged the Punjab chief minister to take effective steps to eradicate spread of Diphtheria in Kasur.