Voice of the People


Articles and letters may be edited for the purposes of clarity and space. They are published in good faith with a view to enlightening all the stakeholders. However, the contents of these writings may not necessarily match the views of the newspaper.

Diphtheria & immunisation

Around 40 children have died recently across Pakistan due to diphtheria, as the vaccine was not available to prevent the outbreak. Though diphtheria is part of Pakistan’s routine immunization program, these deaths show a certain degree of failure. Now WHO and UNICEF have committed to providing anti-diphtheria serum to counter a recent surge in the deadly infectious disease. Like polio, diphtheria is also an infectious disease that most countries of the world have been able to wipe it out from their land.

It is a vaccine-preventable disease and mostly targets children and teenagers. The authorities in Pakistan are well aware of the seriousness of this threat and should have paid more (serious) attention to make arrangements for blanket coverage of their immunization campaign. Though there have been claims of an increase in routine immunization rates in the country, the reality shows something different.

Timely provision of the serum is a vital responsibility of the government to immunization teams. Health authorities in the country should have initiated the process of procurement much earlier so that at the time of immunization campaigns and through regular vaccinations of the children, the medicine is available in sufficient quantities. All newborns are in need of regular vaccination including that of diphtheria.

Keeping in view the fact that diphtheria is a lethal bacterial infection, there should not be any compromise in its vaccination to all children. It is a vaccine preventable disease but still in all provinces of the country there are dozens of cases reported every week. There is a need for an overhaul of the immunization programme so that it can reach every child and teenager in the country.



Toshakhana scandal

The latest controversy of Toshakhana cases has become the talk of the town, where it is claimed that former PM Imran Khan kept the certain costly gifts, those he had received from the heads of the foreign countries during his tenure as Prime Minister. As per the law of the land, the PM can keep those gifts by paying 20% of the market value of the desired gift.

And as per former PM Imran Khan, he got those gifts as per law. However, there is great difference in his thoughts and actions. As gifts are given with love and affection to the official of the state in the official capacity, for that reasons, those given gifts should always have been the state property or if Imran Khan desired so, he should not have sold those gifts at the first place. Even the much controversy remains over the real market value of the presents, the price Imran Khan paid, the price, on which Imran Khan sold, the payment method, cash or cheque, the first seller and the first buyer, the declaration of the sell-money in the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The earlier ones and this whole unwanted episode of Toshakhana have impacted negatively the people of Pakistan, first in the form of loss to the national exchequer and the second, the media coverage time to the scandal. As all, big and small media groups talk about Toshakhana scandal but none regularly put the light on the plight of climate-hit people of the country, who at present, are facing countless problems of health, economy and educational problems.

To cap this up, it is rightly remarked by the judge that all the gifts of Toshakhana must be brought and deposited in the national treasure. Apart from that strict laws must be formulated for the regulation of Toshakhana as nation can focus on the issues of the most importance.



Indonesia earthquake

It is unfortunate to note that the powerful earthquake that hit Indonesia has killed more than 100 people apart from leaving behind a trail of destruction out there. First off, immediate help should be extended to the affected in Indonesia. Plus, global forums like the UN should send officials to the earthquake-hit areas to take stock of the situation.

To begin with, Indonesia has long been one of the most beautiful Asian countries in the world. Thanks to amazing seas, natural resources and panoramic vistas, it has always been a tourist attraction. As a school student, I got to learn a lot about Indonesia and Jakarta in geography during my schooldays in the 1990s.

At the same time, it is really a setback to understand that there have been no advancement or breakthrough in forecasting natural disasters like earthquake despite so many such natural calamities and in spite of massive damage caused by them. The East or the West, countries have been grappling with numerous natural catastrophes right up till date. In this context, the West and Asian countries must come forward to make the most of technology to tackle natural disasters head-to-head.

Above all else, countries and governments could do better to encourage all kinds of green activities from expanding green areas to planting trees to facilitating rigorous agricultural activities like growing food crops so as to be able to save Mother Earth, humanity, the ecology and abundant natural resources from the clutches of natural catastrophes.


Maharashtra, India

Iron Deficiency Day

On 26 November, we commemorate Iron Deficiency Day to bring attention to the serious consequences of iron deficiency. As the name implies, iron deficiency anemia is caused by lack of iron. Iron plays a crucial role in making hemoglobin which enables red blood cells to carry oxygen. If you don’t get enough iron, your body can’t produce enough of this substance. As a result, iron deficiency anemia may leave you tired and short of breath.

In a study of 100 anemic patients at Ayub Teaching Hospital, iron deficiency anemia was found to be the most common form of anemia in Pakistan. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing iron deficiency anemia as well as those between the ages of 21-60. There are two peaks in the prevalence of this disorder, one in the 21-30 age range, and the other in the 41-50 age range.

If untreated, iron deficiency anemia can cause heart problems, delayed growth and development in infants and children as well as premature births and low birth weights in pregnant women. Dietary iron can benefit people with iron deficiency anemia.

Dark leafy greens, meat, seafood, beans, nuts and seeds all contribute to an increased iron intake. Iron supplements can also help people who lack iron in their diet. However, it is imperative to follow the dosage instructions carefully.