Lifestyle & Belief

Pakistan: Record child measles deaths in 2012


A girl receives polio vaccination drops from a medical volunteer during an immunisation drive in Amritsar, India.


Narinder Nanu

Pakistan suffered record child measles deaths, jumping from 64 in 2011 to 306 in 2012.

According to the Associated Press, spokeswoman for the World Health Organization Maryam Yunus said the increase was most prominent in Sindh province. Measles killed 210 children there in 2012, and only 28 in 2011.

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"Most of the affected children died due to post-measles complications such as pneumonia, post-measles encephalitis and diarrhea," said Yunus, reported Agence France-Presse.

She added that most of the children who died were from districts affected by floods for the past three years, and that malnourishment was a major reason for the high rate of measles deaths in Sindh.

"Floods, displacements and food shortages have played a major role behind these deaths," Yunus also told AFP.

According to Radio Free Europe, a health official in the heavily affected province said the disease hits poor areas because families don't vaccinate their children. Some Pakistanis, particularly in rural areas, are suspicious of vaccination campaigns, considering them part of a Western plot to sterilize Muslims or to impose practices on them that are un-Islamic.