Photo: MSF and Pakistani staff examine a patient in Dera Murad Jamali Hospital, where MSF is treating patients for measles-related complications. Pakistan 2011 © P.K. Lee/MSF
MSF Responds To Increase In Measles in Southwestern Pakistan
Cases of measles are on the rise in the eastern region of Pakistan’s Balochistan Province. An MSF medical team in Dera Murad Jamali has treated 159 patients since late December 2012, and two measles-related deaths have occurred in health facilities supported by MSF in the province’s Jaffarabad and Nasirabad districts.
To cope with the increasing number of patients, an eight-bed isolation unit has been set up in Dera Murad Jamali Hospital to treat patients with complications. Some 35 complicated cases have been treated over the past two weeks. Treatment kits have been distributed to locations where MSF runs mobile clinics, including Mir Hassan, Usta Mohammad, Dera Allah Yar, and Sobhat Pur.
“Our mobile medical teams are reaching out to communities to identify patients with measles symptoms in the catchment area of our supported health facilities,” says Dr. Muhammad Shoaib, MSF’s medical coordinator in Pakistan. “Patients are then referred for treatment aimed at preventing complications such as respiratory infections.”
There has been an increase in the number of recorded measles cases across Pakistan over the past two months. “Measles is an extremely contagious illness,” says Dr. Shoaib. “If not treated in time, it may result in serious medical complications and even death, especially amongst malnourished patients. In eastern Balochistan, where malnutrition rates are relatively high, the chance of complications is high.”