SWABI: Smallpox epidemic spreading in Swabi
[June 2002]
By Muqaddam Khan

SWABI, June 8: The smallpox epidemic is rapidly spreading in these parts
of the province, but the district health department has failed to take
any step to contain this deadly disease, Dawn learnt here on Saturday.

It has been reported from different parts of the Swabi district that a
large number of children have suffered from smallpox, but the
authorities concerned have failed to take any action to prevent this
disease or immunize the people against it.

Smallpox is a fatal disease which causes high fever, leaves permanent
marks on the skin and spreads very fast. Timely treatment and
precautionary measures are vital for controlling this malady.

A health official said that the dilemma of the people was that they were
not aware of the danger aspects of this ailment as the children
suffering from it have neither been kept in isolation nor properly
treated. And this resulted in the spread of the virus.

In most of the cases, the children of a family or those living close to
each other, contract it at one and the same time.

The residents of Naro Banda, a rural area in the district, told this
correspondent that a majority of the children in the village had
suffered from smallpox a few years back. "My two brothers, Shams and
Akhtar, have been afflicted by smallpox and I have appealed to the
officials concerned, but they did not bother either to visit the area or
take steps for controlling it," said Mukhtaj Ahmad of Naro Banda.

The mother of a sick child said she had informed the lady health workers
about the spread of the disease four days ago, but no action was taken.

It was also noticed that most of the parents of the sick children were
uneducated. They had either approached the quack living nearby, or the
self-made homeopath doctors to treat the children, but no visible
improvement could be seen in the health of the children.

If the district health department delayed taking steps for containing
the disease, the epidemic may spread to other areas in the vicinity, or
the whole of the district, for that matter.

The suffering people have appealed to the NWFP governor, district
government bosses and health officials to send in special teams to
extend necessary health cover to the children.

Meryl W. Dorey,


The Australian Vaccination Network, Inc.

PO Box 177                                02 6687 1699 Phone

Bangalow NSW 2479               02 6687 2032 FAX

meryl@avn.org.au                   http://www.avn.org.au

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