LAHORE, June 11: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday warned the Punjab chief minister and the health minister of strict action in case of even one more death caused by measles in the province.
Hearing a petition questioning measles deaths and failure of government functionaries to control the outbreak, Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan observed the new government had been formed so the rulers should stop celebrating their victory and show some seriousness towards real issues.
The judge also rejected a report presented by Punjab Health Director General Dr Tanvir about steps taken to control the epidemic in the province.
The DG stated that speedy and effective measures were being taken to control the outbreak. He claimed measles deaths were on decline due to administration of the vaccine to children on large scale.
Justice Khan, however, discarded the DG’s claim and said at least two or three children were dying of measles everyday.
The judge termed the report stereotype and directed the DG to furnish a factual and comprehensive report on the matter.
The hearing was postponed till June 13.
Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Azhar Siddique in his petition had contended that continuing deaths of children caused by measles were an outcome of low coverage of vaccine which ultimately led to a national failure.
He blamed the inability and incapacity of health officials in hospitals and in the field for poor or no treatment of post-measles complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis and diarrhea.
The petitioner said it was the responsibility of state to provide the best available health facilities to the citizens. The instant case was a glaring example of criminal negligence on part of the state functionaries concerned, he submitted.
Besides action against the authorities responsible for the situation, the petitioner also sought directions for federal and provincial governments to establish a permanent authority to prevent spread of such diseases.