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Aug 15, 2013
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, soon after taking over his office, presided over a high level meeting to review the situation arising due to outbreak of measles in the province and the measures to be taken by the government on war footing to control the disease. Declaring a war against measles on the pattern of dengue, he said that all out steps will be taken on emergent basis to save the children from measles and he will personally review the situation on weekly basis while Chief Secretary Punjab will preside over a meeting on daily basis in this regard.
He said that every day will begin with a meeting on measles. Expressing his sorrow and anguish over the death of children due to measles, the Chief Minister said that every human effort will be made to protect the children against this disease as the life of every child is precious. He said that measles will have to be defeated just as dengue was eliminated by following a coordinated programme. He said that it is not the time to sit idle but to save the lives of children of the nation. He said that Allah Almighty and the nation have rested a heavy responsibility on the new government which will have to be discharged at any cost. He said that a massive immunization campaign will be launched in all districts of the Punjab to protect children against measles. He said that it will be unfortunate if the concerned institutions remained silent spectators while the children continued to die of measles. This situation will not be allowed, he vowed. The Chief Minister gave approval to an action plan for protecting the children against measles and provision of the best treatment facilities in hospitals. He directed that a vigorous campaign against measles be launched on war footing and provision of excellent medicals facilities for the treatment of children in hospitals be ensured at any cost. Shahbaz Sharif directed that a special campaign be initiated for creating public awareness against measles on the pattern of dengue. He directed that the modern system devised by Punjab Information Technology Board should be fully utilized and the entire data should be collected on scientific basis. He said that in order to protect children of nine months to ten years of age from measles, the vaccination campaign should be started at union council level and inoculation of every child should be ensured. He said that Punjab government will provide necessary funds for saving the lives of children and the vaccination programme should be arranged on emergent basis in all districts. The Chief Minister directed that Punjab government should accelerate the process of purchase of vaccine against measles from its own resources without waiting for international donors and the problem of malnutrition of children should also be taken seriously so that they should develop resistance power.
The Chief Minister directed that 100 percent vaccination of children should be ensured under the campaign. He said that it is a national responsibility of members of national and provincial assemblies to sympathize with the families affected by measles and monitor situation in their areas on daily basis. He said that elected representatives should also review arrangements for the treatment of affected children in hospitals as it is time to save their lives. Expressing extreme indignation over the failure to launch immunization campaign against measles on time sand timely purchase of the vaccine, the Chief Minister constituted a three-member inquiry committee to be headed by Secretary Home Shahid Khan which will submit its report within 48 hours. Secretary Health while giving a briefing to the meeting informed that there are a total of 15998 affected children in Punjab while nine children affected by measles were brought to hospitals yesterday out of which three belong to Lahore. He said that vaccination campaign against measles will be launched in twelve districts of the province from June 24 to July 4 while in the second phase this campaign will be initiated in the remaining districts of the province. He said that vitamin A capsules will also be given during the anti-measles campaign for developing more resistance power in children. Members National and Provincial Assemblies Kh. Saad Rafique, Pervaiz Malik, Malik Riaz, Afzal Khokhar, Mehr Ishtiaq Ahmed, Sohail Shoukat Butt, Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Chief Secretary Javed Aslam, Secretary Health, Secretary Schools Education, Commissioner Lahore Division, Vice Chancellor King Edward Medical University, District Coordination Officer Lahore and concerned officials were present.