On a special visit to Quetta, Muhammad Fareed, Publisher & Managing Editor, Medical Review interviewed Dr. Amir Mohammad Khan Jogezai, Professor of Paediatric, Bolan Medical College, Quetta. Following are the excerpts of the interview.
Q – Tell us something about yourself.
Ans – I am Dr. Amir Mohammad Khan Jogezai, Professor of Paediatric, Bolan Medical College, Quetta. I am the Founder Chief Executive of Kidney Centre /General Hospital Quetta, Senior Trustee of Fatimid Foundation and also the President of Pakistan Paediatric Association (PPA) Centre. It is my honour to have been elected the President of PPA twice in the PPA history.
Q – What are the most prevalent diseases among children and how can they be prevented?
Ans – There are so many prevalent and communicable diseases among children nowadays which include seasonal diarrhea, measles, typhoid and so many other diseases which are very common. Nowadays Vaccines are available all over the country for these diseases. New vaccines are protective against more diseases. Vaccines now are easier and safer to administer than before. In our nationwide treatment centres, vaccines are freely available for children. Parents are advised to visit these centres and get their children vaccinated. All children deserve to get full access to the vaccines they need.
Q – The effects of water and air pollution are evident among children in the form of various diseases. How can it be minimized?
Ans – The pollution is all over the country and is more vulnerable among children in the form of various diseases. Pollution cannot be controlled by doctors. Government and environmental agencies should take care of it.
Certainly, in this regard we can teach our community and masses and enlighten them regarding the water and air pollution and the use of clean drinking water. The water filter plant although expensive should be made affordable for the people. The community and government should provide them clean drinking water in order to minimize the burden of these diseases.
PPA (Centre) has installed four water filtration plants in various flood affected areas of Sindh to help families in the prevention of water borne diseases. But certainly we cannot cover up the whole country.
Q – Due to dehydration, large numbers of children suffer from various ailments. Now that awareness has been created, has there been any sufficient reduction in these disorders?
Ans – Dehydration is one of the biggest problems which is caused due to diarrhea, GI Infection and vomiting. It can cause large number of complications in children. In good old day, people used to stop drinking water and fluids but nowadays it is not possible and advisable. Doctors particularly are administering more fluid to those suffering from diarrhea to avoid dehydration because dehydration can be fatal among children.
Q – Many children suffer from various Fevers. What are the different types of Fevers?
Ans – As I said earlier, we call Fever the pyrexia which is of unknown origin. Most important in our areas are malaria, typhoid, respiratory infection, GI infection. All these infections cause Fever. Fever is a symptom of disease or infection that children have and that should be detected through proper investigation.
Q – Can sunstroke cause fever and how can it be prevented?
Ans – Sunstrokes occur mainly in those who are commonly exposed to the sunny areas like Sindh and Punjab. In Pakistan, we have high temperatures in summers so children are very vulnerable to sunstrokes which can cause fever.
We often recommend parents to avoid their children from direct sun exposure and use plenty of water and other fluids. The children should be advised not to go into the open sky because it may be very dangerous for them.
Q – Due to inflation and poverty, malnutrition affects children most and they become weak and susceptible to various diseases. How this situation affects children?
Ans – The country’s current economical situation is very bad. Inflation is increasing day by day and the poverty graph is also rising simultaneously. Recent price rise in all food commodities has made the situation even worse. This situation depends upon the governmental policies. The condition we are facing in Pakistan right now is prevailing malnutrition. Malnutrition is not a simple problem because it creates other problems and diseases. Government needs to look into this and address all these issues. Government should also take appropriate measures to improve the financial conditions of our people.
Q – What are the measures necessary to reduce the child mortality rate? What are the numbers in rural and urban areas?
Ans – We have big hospitals, basic health units and tertiary care hospitals in every area of the country and these hospitals are fully equipped to cater the patients’ needs. When patients come to us, we do research and from these studies we come to know the mortality rate and the morbidity of different diseases.
Q – Has research work been undertaken to reduce the prevalent diseases and their prevention?
Ans – Research is been undertaken in every big hospital of the country to access the mortality and morbidity of different diseases. The data collected helps us to take preventive and precautionary measures. Most of these diseases are infectious and communicable and for that vaccines are the best intervention. Vaccines are available throughout the country and new vaccines protect against more diseases. We often advise parent to breastfeed their children upto 1 year since it reduces the number of diseases including malnutrition.
Q – What are your suggestions to improve the health of children and make them less prone to diseases?
Ans – First of all, there is a need to encourage breastfeeding because it gives babies the required nutrients they need for their healthy development and also contains antibodies that help protect them from common childhood diseases. There is need to ensure safe and adequate nutrition for infants by promoting breastfeeding.
Secondly, vaccination should also be pursued because it is safe and easy to use. Physicians can play an important role in convincing parents about the benefits of vaccination to ensure long term health. Different awareness program should be organized for the parents. It is very important to reduce the burden of diseases.