LAHORE -  Three more patients lost their lives at a local hospital on Wednesday, taking the death toll in Lahore to 27. So far 48 children have died because of measles in Punjab.

Muhammad Ijaz, seven months, Iqra, 1, and Fiza, 2, breathed their last at Mayo Hospital. About 124 new measles patients were admitted to different hospitals in Lahore. So far over 9,000 measles cases have been reported from across Punjab and out of these 48 fell prey to the menace.

Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Health Salima Hashmi paid a surprise visit to Mayo Hospital and inquired after the measles affected children. She also inquired from the parents about the provision of treatment facilities by the hospital administration. She visited pead’s emergency, ICU and High Dependency Unit. Duty doctors briefed the minister regarding the health condition under treatment children.

Talking to the newsmen, Hashmi said media had played effective role in raising awareness and sensitising people about diseases like measles. She said there was need of launching mass immunization campaign against measles not only in Punjab but all over the country to completely eradicate the menace.

She said the Punjab government had taken initiatives and the health department was planning to launch mass immunization campaign in coming days. She said the top priority of every government should be the health of children but in Pakistan a meager amount has been spent on the sector, especially mother and child health was neglected badly.

Hashmi said there was need to spend more many on the health sector especially to prevent mortality of infants. She urged the media to emphasise on the parents to get their children vaccinated against diseases. She said children were equal whether they belong to Punjab or Sindh and all the provinces should evolve special plan to save their lives.

Separately, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Rizwan Mehboob has stated that City District Government Lahore (CDGL) is going to launch a anti-measles campaign and all the office of union councils had been declared as Measles Vaccination Centre’s where children would be vaccinated.

He expressed these views while chairing a meeting in connection with anti-measles at his office on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by Assistant Commissioners, Town Administrator, EDO Health, EDO CD, DO Social Welfare, DO Health and others.

The DCO said an awareness campaign would also start in all towns in this regard and banners and steamers inscribed with precautionary measures to avoid measles disease would also be displayed at prominent place and in front of all union councils offices.

Two patients lost their lives at a local hospital on Tuesday, taking the death toll in Lahore to 23 while 43 new measles patients were admitted to different hospitals on Tuesday.

On the other hand, Chief Minister Najam Sethi has declared a war on measles, saying that anti-measles measures should be adopted on war footing. He vowed that all required resources would be made available to save the children.

 “Public awareness helpline has been fully activated and citizens can now gather information about measles, and its prevention through 0800-9900. Vaccination of children against measles is essential, and immediate arrangements should be made to purchase anti-measles vaccination on emergency basis from own resources, without waiting for international funding,” he added.