KARACHI: Secretary Health Sindh Rehan Iqbal Baloch has issued a notification to implement a concrete strategy across Sindh to deal with measles outbreaks.

He also issued directives assigning each organisation representatives to go to the field to the districts for monitoring and supportive supervision.

Charing a meeting on measles response with all partners including WHO, UNICEF, BMGF, IRD, VITAL,TKF, Aga Khan, Pathfinder and others. The instruction includes steps:

1. Rapid Vaccination Campaigns: Start a massive vaccination campaign to vaccinate all eligible children.

2. Increase Surveillance and Monitoring: All out efforts should be made for strengthening of surveillance systems to identify any suspected case of measles and also to track the spread of outbreaks to prevent them.

3. Availability of trained staff and vaccines: must be insured by all DHO’s that the supply of vaccines is available, cold chain is maintained and skilled vaccinators are available at facilities and outreach sites.

4. Collaboration: All DHOs to collaborate and coordinate with stakeholders of concerned districts to ensure liaison with the Provincial EPI office to keep them updated on ground realities.

5. Better coordination with the media to provide timely information on steps being taken.

The Health Department assures the public of its dedication to containing the outbreak and ensuring the health and well-being of all citizens and appreciates the role of the media in raising awareness for this collective responsibility for all stakeholders in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, following media reports on various channels of the death of two children allegedly because of measles in District Kamber Shahdadkot, Project Director EPI Sindh Dr M Naeem has initiated a thorough investigation into the suspected measles outbreak in UC Dhingano Mahesar, Taluka Sijawal and ordered district health authorities to strengthen surveillance and also to go into communities to raise awareness on vaccination.

Upon initial investigation, it was discovered that the deceased children, Baby Azmat and Baby Khushboo did indeed have measles and were not brought to qualified healthcare providers or facilities but were instead managed at home through traditional methods. Despite regular outreach vaccination efforts in the area, low literacy and poor knowledge among parents hindered complete vaccination coverage. However, the district did have a high uptake of routine immunization.

Secretary Health Sindh said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of innocent lives and are committed to taking swift and decisive actions to prevent further outbreaks. We urge communities to cooperate with vaccination efforts and remain vigilant against preventable diseases. We are providing vaccines free of cost. I urge parents to come forward with their eligible children and get them vaccinated.”