Chairman of the Pakistani Judicial Activism Panel Muhammad Azhar Siddique filed a petition in the Lahore High Court this week seeking action against the government’s recent failure to control a major measles outbreak.
The petition states that all of Pakistan, but particularly the Punjab region, has been plagued by the measles epidemic, which has led to the deaths of a number of children. Siddique said that the illness could have been prevented had authorities taken precautionary measures ahead of time, according to PakTribune.com.
Siddique said that it was the state’s responsibility to protect the lives of children by providing the best possible healthcare facilities. In the present case, according to Siddique, the fault lay entirely with the machinery of state.
Siddique requested that federal and regional officials be instructed to deal with the outbreak using emergency powers. He also asked that a report be prepared to hold those responsible to account, and that a permanent federal and provincial authority be established to handle health crises and prevent the future spread of disease.
The World Health Organization has expressed concern about the number of deaths from measles in Pakistan over the last few months. According to the WHO, 154 children were killed from measles during January. The majority of deaths took place in Sindh, according to theNews.com.pk.