The number of measles cases in Pakistan more than doubled in 2017, compared to the number of cases the previous year.

According to World Health Organization-Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO- EMRO) data, Pakistan reported 6,494 laboratory confirmed measles cases in 2017. In 2016, the country only reported 2,845.

Only Somalia reported more cases in the region.

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In addition, measles incidence for 2016 was 16.06 per cent and rose to 36.67 per cent in 2017.

According to a Express Tribune report:

Under the national schedule, children between the ages of nine and 15 months should be vaccinated, but the Expanded Programme on Immunisation failed to ensure this, even as the numbers crept higher. The administration not only failed to detect outbreaks but also did not respond to them on time.

Last year, a meeting conducted by the Pakistan Health and Population Strategic Forum, chaired by Federal Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar, took notice of the measles situation. She agreed to launch a measles vaccination campaign in high-risk areas in April, and a nationwide anti-measles drive in October 2018. They also decided to release a plan of action with mutual consultation among all provinces.

Image/CIA
Image/CIA