Far from showing any retreat, the measles menace is looking almost unstoppable. It took the lives of nine more children on Monday, amid the Lahore High Court looking quite perturbed at the continued loss of life. What is to be done? A report in this paper points towards the usual procrastination in procurement and availability of vaccine as well as the shoddy conditions in the hospitals including medical staff that is incapable of stemming the disease. Broadly speaking, slackness is rather ingrained in our attitude or rather it is a way of life; we wake up when the disaster has already struck or sometimes when a suo moto notice is taken. Response towards measles is a case in point and a pathetic one. Reportedly many of the hospitals lack the vaccine, the delay in getting them has led to deaths.

It appears, the authorities that ought to have arranged for the drugs and vaccines are literally hibernating. During the LHC proceedings, they were found shifting blame, which has been going on for quite some time now. In every hearing, accusations and excuses are flung as the judges watch and think to fight the scourge. Who is really in charge here? The Punjab Health Department that earned the ire of the court is headed by a bunch of officials who perhaps do not know what to do? Three more cases of children dying were also reported from Faisalabad; a total of 100 patients have died all over Punjab so far. 

The epidemic is spreading like a wildfire. The Lahore High Court’s statement that the meagre measures taken by the Punjab health officials are the cause of the deaths is a damning indictment of the department. Now if heads have to roll, they must; this is necessary to get things moving in the right direction to bring in those who can save lives. The vaccines have to be procured and not only that regular surveillance of public hospitals need to be carried out where reports indicate unscrupulous staff stooping so low as to steal the medicine.