Pakistan to introduce Pneumococcal vaccines

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Pakistan to introduce Pneumococcal vaccines

Pneumonia was one of the biggest causes of childhood mortality world-wide. Globally, pneumonia is responsible for 4,300 children deaths every day or one in every 20 seconds, while in Pakistan over 80,000 children die each year. Around 80,000 to 100,000 children die every year in Pakistan due to pneumonia, a disease that can be prevented if children under the age of two are vaccinated against it, said Dr. Amir M. Khan Jogezai, President PPA at a Press Conference held recently at Press Club, Karachi.

He said that World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the intro-duction of Pneumococcal vaccines in the national immunisation program, particularly in countries with high mortality rates. “Pakistan is a country where 80,000 to 100,000 children die every year due to pneumonia, which is a preventable disease through vaccine. He urged the government to introduce Pneumococcal vaccines in the routine vaccination program for children up to five years.

 Pakistan is one of the fortunate countries in the world where we have such an effective immunization program that provides vaccines to children free of cost. It is now the responsibility of the parents to get their children vacci-nated against preventable diseases

He said the PPA, through hectic efforts, included Hepatitis B and HIB vaccination in the national immunization program a few years ago and now it was striving to get the Pneumococcal vaccine included. In market, one dose of Pneumococcal vaccine costs around 5,400 rupees, but hopefully by March 2012, it will be available to children free of cost and this step would help save thousands of children’s lives.

Dr. Zareen Fasih, General Secretary PPA (Centre) sharing her views on the occasion said that PPA had been helping and assisting the government for the establishment of children hospitals in the country. There are quite few children hospitals established in various parts of the country i.e. Karachi, Lahore, Isla-mabad, Quetta and now in Peshawar. The Paediatric specialty have been recog-nized a major one in our country. Pneumococcal vaccines would be part of our national immunization program by March 2012, for which we felicitated the government and inter-national donor agencies.

Other who spoke on the occasion includes, Dr. Iqbal Memon, President Elect PPA and Dr Hasina Chagani.