Thar officials stop sharing data of children’s deaths with media
MITHI: Two days after the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of unabated deaths of children in Tharparkar district due to malnutrition and unavailability of proper and adequate health facilities over the past couple of years, relevant officials have stopped sharing details of such cases with the media.
After failing to get the data of fresh cases reported at various health facilities of different towns, this correspondent contacted Thar district health officer (DHO) Dr Mohammad Akhlaq Khan, who said that he was strictly forbidden to share such details with the media. “My high-ups have told me to report all such cases only to them and no one else,” he said.
The health department and its officials in the district believe that the media reporting over the past few years regarding the drought-like situation and position of medical facilities at hospitals and other healthcare centres etc has been ‘irresponsible’ and the number of deaths exaggerated. They also disagree that the cause of mortality among the children, as well as expectant mothers, who died at government hospitals and health centres happened to be malnutrition, unavailability of proper medical support or official negligence.
DHO Khan preferred to say “no comment” when he was asked whether he received the directive in the context of the apex court’s suo motu notice.
Only recently, Dr Khan, sharing official data with Dawn, had put children’s reported death toll in the district up to April 16 this year at 99.
“A total of 31,744 ailing children were brought to six health facilities of the district and 145 of them were referred to various hospitals in Karachi and Hyderabad during the period,” he said.