Avoidance of Vaccination leads to life long Disability

Published on
May 16, 2013

Illiteracy, unawareness, social unevenness and institutional failure are the causes which snatched the eye-right of Raj Kumari. She lives in Hyderabad, India, at Sochi Para. When she was 3 years old, due to Measles, she became blind. Now, she runs at an age of 14.

The dream of becoming doctor has not been achieved by her; but, now, it is her dream that she get back her eye-sight so that she could see her mother, father, brothers and sisters. Raj kumari is at the mercy of God.

The parents of Raj kumari did not get her vaccinate when she was born, therefore, she was attacked by Measles. The resting of old myth realized her parents that the baby needs exorcist treatment and put her at home for complete nine days. Her condition deteriorated. As she got affected by Pneumonia, Raj kumari’s parents took her to nearby hospital.

“Measles is a Mai which should not be disturbed any how, the affected child should be closed at home till the Mai disappears, nothing could be cooked, home must be kept clean, the pregnant woman cannot come into home and female beggars should not even see the face of the child”, Raj Kumari’s father Aachar thinks this way. Moreover, he told we kept Raj kumari at home but after a week her condition worsened. We, then, took her to the hospital where the doctor told us that she might die after 24 hours; if she doesn’t lose her life, she would lose her eye-sight at least. She was saved but her eyes turned into hard white balls. Now doctors say that there is treatment of it but for that they have to go Sri Lanka, where new eyes would be transplanted and, then, she would be able to see.

Bhaghbhari, the mother of Raj kumari, wiping the rolling tears proceeded in saying, “No one would marry her as she is blind. Her future is bleak, when I see her I remain gloomy. Would that, she had died instead of surviving in that miserable situation”. “Moreover, my husband”, she went ahead explaining, “is a cobbler. So, we don’t have such amount of money as we could take her to Sri Lanka for eyes transplantation.

Raj kumari could not withhold her tears when she said, “The pain which I do have, cannot be showed to or understood by anyone”.

The expert doctor of pediatrics at Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences Professor Doctor Akbar Nizamani says, “Eye complexion is common after measles. Measles also produces motions, pneumonia and high temperature after which the child falls prey to lack of diet which causes deficiency of Vitamin A. The deficiency of vitamin A produces ulcer in the coronae of eye and the patient becomes blind”. Moreover, he told that sign of measles are illness, fast flow of the nose, redness in the eyes and white pimples on the face. After a few days, red pimples appear on neck, face and other parts of the body. The main cause of measles is lack of vaccination in the children. Here, happens 50% vaccination against different diseases. But, against measles there happens 40 % vaccination. Both health departments and people are responsible for such lower ratio. The vaccination for measles is applied when the baby is of nine, twelve and fifteen months. Polio, B.C.G and Penta vaccination is completed in the fourth month. The gape is of 5 months; therefore, parents forget to get vaccinate their babies.

“There is urgent need to ensure vaccination 100 %, but due to corruption and political interference, the process is hampered as the vaccination material is not supplied properly and, if supplied any, it is not stored well. The continuous change of political system in sindh, it couldn’t be clear under whom the health department works. The quacks, who have clinics in the villages, are also intended responsible as they don’t suggest the parents to get their child vaccinated. They just check, write medicine and collect fees”, Doctor Akbar Nizamani said while elaborating further. 

In sindh, yet, there are many children who might be turned into disability as those have not been vaccinated for which we all have to play the role.

According to Sindh Health Department, in 2011 28 children, in 2012 210 children and in 2013 (till now) 88 children have died due to measles. Focal person Doctor Hussain Umrani appointed by Director General Health of Sindh shares the facts and figures, “in eight districts viz Shikarpur, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Khairpur, Sukkur, Lrakana and Qamber, the number of death caused by Measles has Increased. The vaccination was started again in the eight districts, 3482621 children were vaccinated. The age of the children was between 9 and 10 months. The second dose was given after 6 weeks. For starting vaccination in other 15 districts of Sindh, 30 lac (3 million) viles of vaccination were demanded from federal EPI program which were given and 9831971 children were vaccinated.

Coordinator of INSAF Social Welfare Association Zameer Awan discloses, “In 2011, 64 children died in Pakistan due to measles. In 2012, 350 children died in which the greatest number was from Sindh. From 2012 to March 2013, 450 children died due to measles”. In 2010 and 2011, 80 lac (8 million) people were displaced due to heavy rains and floods. As the water could not be removed, 52 centers were destroyed in district Shikarpur. To utter surprise, those health centers could not have been rebuilt. Due to this phenomenon, vaccines could not be stored well. So, including measles, nine epidemic diseases spread over there. In Shikarpur, UC KB Allah bux, village Yousif bhatti 10 children died in a week. In other villages namely Mohammad Salih Penhwar, Pinjal Penhwar, Ali Nawaz Penhwar and Mohammad Salih Jamali 10 to 20 children died in one week as the drainage system was dysfunctional.

There are many areas in the northern Sindh which are no-go areas due to tribal conflicts. Lady Health Workers (LHWs) don’t go to such areas. There is also an other problem with the LHWs. They are continuously protesting for permanence and regularity of their Jobs, but the government has given deaf ear to their struggle. Keeping aside the challenge of job confirmation of LHWs, they have other problems in the vaccination process.

“Vaccination is conspired for family planning; it is a way to stop our coming generation.  Our religion scholars say that America wants to destroy the Muslims, therefore, our coming generation is going to be killed in the disguise of vaccination”, Villager Mohammad Ibrahim told.

Pediatrician expert Doctor Zulifqar Sheikh told that all types of epidemic diseases can be wiped out once the parents seriously think over the vaccination of their children. The reason of less vaccination is unawareness among masses for which media, politicians, Mullahs and religious scholars have to play their role. Better nourishment of child from the early days decides child physical and mental health. According to medical science, 80% of mental health is completed within early 2 years. The child should be fed on mother’s milk, be kept clean and must be vaccinated.

It is a big issue in Sindh that in rural areas there is lack government hospitals and health centers. Women have to take help of local women who guide them in maternity issues. Those women have less knowledge and expertise in maternity issues. So, after delivery, they don’t emphasize on vaccination of the baby. Resultantly, the death ration increases among the new born babies.

In rural areas people consider the epidemic diseases as the will of God and adopt to talisman or to such existent norms. In Hyderabad civil hospital in the ward of pediatric, a Hindu woman Shanti brought her daughter of 3 years who was affected by measles. She disclosed, “It is common in our community that the measles is treated in the way that the patient is showered or bathed from the water boiled with leaves of the Neem tree. I also followed the same method. Rather than recovering, she became more ill. We brought her to hospital here. I have been told that my daughter is suffering from measles due to no vaccinating her at proper time. If I had known the importance of vaccination, I would have done so already and my daughter would not be suffering like that”.

According to survey and research conducted by HANDS, PILER and INSAF Welfare Association, “The reasons of increase and spreading of measles are taking no timely measures, lake of vaccination, the presence of flood water in the flood affected areas, improper diet among children, outdated and sub-standard vaccination, unawareness among the people and their worse socio-economic condition”.

Lack of proper or balanced diet and mal-nutrition cause measles, diarrhea, sickness, skin and eye diseases and pneumonia. Due to mal-nutrition, blood deficiency is caused and metabolism is badly disturbed. The baby falls easy prey to viral diseases. Dr. Akbar Nizamani told, “The Morbilli virus and Paramyxori-ridae are a Single Strand (RNA) viruses which spread by cough, sneezing and close contact. This is how, measles virus spreads to the babies”.

World Health Organization (WHO) showed the figures as from 1st January 2012 to 25thDecember 2012, 210 children died and 2222 children were in doubt of having measles. In 23 districts of Sindh, some 7274 cases were investigated to pre-stop the diseases. 291 children (4%) were not in age of vaccination, while 6983 children (96%) were in the age of vaccination. “On detailed investigation it was confirmed that 18% children are given one dose. 4% are given 2 doses and 78% of the children had not been vaccinated. In 2011, 64 children and in 2012, 306 children died due to measles in which the greatest number was from Sindh”, WHO spokesperson Maryam Younis told.

According to WHO, 2-5 million children die due to pneumonia, measles, T.B, etc. all over the world every year. 58 thousand children died due to measles in 2011 all over the world. Every day 430 children die of measles and 18 children in an hour. Many such diseases take away the lives of 435000 children in Pakistan every year. Out of them, 20% die of pneumonia, Tetanus and Measles whose vaccination is available.

The immediate solution of the issue is creating awareness program which should not merely be circulating on a single point rather the multi-faceted campaign is required not merely to erase the misunderstanding but also to create awareness on the larger basis. Along with that the mechanism of monitoring has to be made effective for which health institution, government and citizens of the country have to come forward to play the vibrant role. They have to check if vaccination is given to health department, if the health department vaccinates the babies on time and properly. If any house misses, the neighbor must tell the concerned head of the house so that the child is vaccinated sooner than later. We, collectively, have to save our future and this is impossible unless awareness is given, people are educated and institutions are made stronger and more accountable.