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News  


 

Inborn defects caused infant’s death in Chilaw

A charge that a five-month old child had died following the administration of vaccine has been refuted by the Health Department.
A medical investigation into the death of the child has revealed the infant had died due to an inborn heart defect in Chilaw on March 22.
The child had died following a vaccination of pentavalent –DPT-HepB-Hib given on March 22.
In a statement to the media Dr. Paba Palihawadana, Head of the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health said that preliminary inquiries into the death of the child had revealed that the cause for the child’s death was due to an irrevocable and inborn heart disease.
She said that the child had been diagnosed with an irrevocable and inborn heart disease by heart specialists and paediatricians and that the child’s parents had been duly informed that his life span was short and there were no remedies for his condition.

However, the doctors had also informed the child’s parents that the child could be immunized in line with his age. Accordingly the child had been vaccinated with the BCG pentavalent dose 1 when he was two months, and no after effects had been reported.
It was only after he had been vaccinated with BCG pentavalent dose 2 on 22.03.2011, that the child had died.
Commenting on the risk factor involving vaccinating children with inborn heart diseases, she said that children with inborn heart disease could be vaccinated.
“Vaccination producers of the World Health Organisation do not say that children with heart problems should not be vaccinated. Scientifically vaccinating such children is more appropriate because they can be more vulnerable to the epidemic diseases prevented by the particular vaccine”, she said.
In Sri Lanka, although the rate of child mortality is as low as 11 per 1,000 births, statistically it amounts to as many as 4,000 children dying every year, around 10-12 deaths every day.
Dr, Palihawadana said that over seven million children were immunized under the National Immunisation Programme on strictly safe conditions, thereby preventing over 50,000 deaths from preventable causes.
She has therefore appealed to parents not to stop immunizing their children due to adverse consequences in a few children so far, which had proved to be non-related to the vaccines given.