Measles Outbreak: 5 kids die in Rangamati | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:31 AM, March 21, 2020

Measles Outbreak: 5 kids die in Rangamati

130 children suffering from the disease in Baghaichhari upazila

At least five Tripura children died of measles over last three weeks and 130 others were also infected in Rangamati's Baghaichhari upazila.

Besides, a mother who was also affected by this infectious disease lost her premature baby two days after delivery.

The disease broke out in fiveremotevillages -- Arun Tripura Para, Lungthian Tripua Para, Tarun Tripura Para, Kamalapur Chakma Para, and Kaikhya Tripura Para under Sajek union, said Harin-Joy-Tripura, a health assistant at Baghaichhari upazila health complex.

The dead are Sagorika Tripura, Kohen Tripura, Dishan Tripura, Rujina Tripura, and Devi Tripura, said Harin, who is working in the affected villages.

The first death from measles was reported on February 26. The four others died on February 27, and March 15, 16, and 17, said Harin.

The community leaders alleged that doctors or community healthcare providers never visited the remote villages before the disease outbreak.

Hiranando Tripura, a ward member of the area, said, "The affected areas are out of vaccination coverage."

"The childrenof our para [village] were never vaccinated, and people of the area did not get any health service from the government," said Alo Kumar Tripura, headman of Arun Para.

Chinta Rani Tripura, of the same village, who got infected by this communicable disease during her pregnancy and lost her premature baby after delivery, said, "My baby boy died without any treatment. Nobody came to help us."

"We are very helpless in hill," he added.

Contacted, Bipash Khisa, civil surgeon of Rangamati, said it was really tough to work in remote areas.

It takes around 10 hours to reach the affected areas on foot from Sajek tourist spot as there is on other way to go there, the civil surgeon said.

He added that a medical team with BGB was working in the affected villages. Another medical team would be sent there, he said.

The civil surgeon also claimed that despite awareness campaigns, parents were not interested in vaccinating their children for their superstition.

"After the disease broke out, our health workers went to the affected paras [villages] on March 6 and vaccinated 285 children, aged under 15," said Istekhar Ahmed, Baghaichhari upazila health and family planning officer.

"The affected children were also suffering from malnutrition, which causes the disease to take a serious turn," he said, adding that the affected children were not out of danger.

The 130 children, who are undergoing treatment, are aged between 1 and 15.

Recently, a child died and around 40 others, including 33 children, were seriously ill in Bandarban's Lama upazila.

Locals said the disease was measles, while health officials said they sent samples to Dhaka for tests and that they could confirm after getting the tests results.

In 2017, nine children of Tripura community died of measles in Chattogram's Sitakunda upazila.

This year, the campaign to vaccinate 34 million children from 9 months to 10 years for measles and rubella in Bangladesh had been scheduled to start on Wednesday. But it was postponed in the ongoing coronavirus fallout.  

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