KARACHI - Sindh Minister for Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho has said that typhoid has consistently been spreading in the province owing to contaminated water, fearing that the situation could become worst if not controlled.

Replying queries during question hour in Sindh Assembly, Dr Azra said that water distribution system was very old and not up to the mark as sewerage water gets mixed with drinking water due to which typhoid and other diseases were spreading. She added that Hyderabad and localities of Karachi—Saddar, Lyari and North Karachi— were hit more than other parts of the province.

The minister said, “I wished I could tell when will the people get clean water. The provincial government is taking several measures for provision of clean water to the people but there is need to a lot more” .When asked about the measures being taken by the department to fight against Typhoid, Dr Azra informed that ‘Polysaccharide’ vaccination was done through child survival program to the eligible children as well as conjugate Typhoid vaccine campaign was being carried out in affected areas of district Hyderabad through collaboration with Aga Khan University Hospital.

“A total 116,000 children (six-month to 10-year old) were vaccinated till 11th October 2018. Training plan for the mass vaccination has been completed for Karachi, while it is in process in other parts of the Province,” she added. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA Muhammad Arsalan Taj asked whether or not any emergency declared as the situation getting ‘worst’ on which the minister replied that there was scarcity of dosage as well. “We don’t want to create panic until obtain required number of dosage. The import of conjugated vaccine for left over vaccination is in process as the same would be brought through Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan,” said the minister.

She added that tentative plan was approved for further mass vaccination against Typhoid which was scheduled to be kicked off from January 2019, adding that after mass campaign, the vaccine will be incorporated in routine immunization. Besides, she said that general practitioners were also sensitized and informed by the department regarding drug resistant Typhoid, irrational use of antibiotics and water borne diseases.

‘Seven died of Naegleria’

The Health Minister informed that seven people died of Naegleria Fowleri Infection (NFI) across the province. She said that it was the basic responsibility of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board as the disease has no cure but prevention. “Naegleria can only be prevented through chlorination of water and other measures for leak proof supply of water,” said Azra.

 

The minister was of the view that the role of health department was very limited as it could only impart health education, conduct public awareness sessions through print and electronic media for maintaining hygiene and to share the chlorination of water status with KW&SB for taking pre-emptive measures so as to avoid deaths due to NFI.

However, she added that they constituted a focal group to formulate strategy for control of NFI for water sampling and testing from pumping stations, reservoirs of KW&SB, monitoring of swimming pools of hotels, farm houses and recreational water parks for assessing chlorination status and its functional system. “24000 chlorine tablets were distributed among the affected community to prevent water borne diseases,” she added.