February 18, 2024
Childhood Pneumonia Outbreak in Pakistan's Punjab Claims Over 200 Lives
Pakistan News Health World

Childhood Pneumonia Outbreak in Pakistan’s Punjab Claims Over 200 Lives

Childhood Pneumonia Outbreak in Pakistan’s Punjab Claims Over 200 Lives

Childhood Pneumonia Outbreak in Pakistan’s Punjab Claims Over 200 Lives

In the last three weeks, Punjab province in Pakistan has witnessed the tragic death of over 200 children due to pneumonia attributed to severe cold weather, as confirmed by the caretaker government on Friday. A significant number of the deceased children were reportedly not vaccinated against pneumonia, suffered from malnutrition, and had weakened immunity due to a lack of breastfeeding. The government has implemented preventive measures, including a ban on morning assemblies in schools until January 31, due to the extreme weather conditions.

Preventive Vaccination Measures and Challenges

Mukhtar Ahmed, director of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in Punjab, highlighted the routine vaccination schedule for babies in Pakistan, emphasizing the administration of the first anti-pneumonia vaccine, PCV, around six weeks after birth. While vaccinated children are protected against bacterial pneumonia, there remains a risk of viral pneumonia. The government urges the use of preventive measures like masks, handwashing, and warm clothing to reduce the incidence of pneumonia among children.

Alarming Increase in Pneumonia Cases and Government Response

Since January 1, Punjab has reported 10,520 pneumonia cases, with all 220 deaths occurring in children under the age of five. The provincial capital, Lahore, reported 47 of these deaths. Expressing grave concern, the government is mobilizing efforts to address the rise in pneumonia cases, urging senior doctors to adopt preventive measures and protect children from this respiratory disease. The viral nature of pneumonia is compared to COVID-19, emphasizing the need for vigilant preventive strategies.

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