Protection of Children from Diseases Stressed

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Protection of Children from Diseases Stressed

Pediatricians at a Conference emphasized on improving nutritional health of children under the age of 5 to prevent them from infections disease leading to morbidity and mortality.

The two-day 4th Annual Pediatric Infectious Diseases Conference organized by Infectious Diseases Group, Pakistan Pediatric Association (IDG-PPA) in collaboration with PPA Sindh Branch held recently from January 7 – 8, 2012 at a local hotel in Karachi. The theme of the Conference was “Infections in Children – Reducing the Toll” with special emphasis on Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Diagnostic Difficulties, Tuberculosis, Infection Control Issue, Malaria, Dengue Fever, Typhoid and Novel Vaccines. Leading paediatricians from Pakistan and abroad, representatives of Ministry of Health, National Programs such as TB, Malaria and MNCH/ENC, Child Survival Program Sindh, UNICEF and WHO attended the Conference.

Prof. Nizamul Hassan speaking as the Chief Guest said that good hygiene and sanitation conditions, sustained economic growth and cost-effective medical interventions were among the essential components needed for controlling infectious diseases in children in any society.

He stressed on developing infrastructure and capacity building in the health sector to prevent children from preventable diseases.

Dr. Amir Muhammad Khan Jogezai, president of PPA, said that the infant mortality rate is increasing in Pakistan which could be controlled by taking measures against preventable diseases. Pakistan is failing to address child diseases and children’s problems. Pneumonia is one of the biggest cause of childhood mortality worldwide, where 1 million children under the age of 5 die each year of these diseases which is responsible for 19% of the death. Globally Pneumonia is responsible for 4,300 children deaths every day or one in every 20 seconds. In Pakistan above 80,000 children die each year.

Prof. Zulfiqar Bhutta from Aga Khan University spoke on Interplay of infections and malnutrition in children in Pakistan. He said that the country’s progress towards the MDG had been very slow.

There had been certain reduction in the children underweight at birth, but much was needed to be done to make up for zinc and vitamin deficiencies in children, to promote the exclusive breast feeding practices to reduce the risk of child deaths and eliminate the chances of diarrhea, measles and pneumonia. Referring to the latest national nutrition survey, Prof Bhutta said that multi-dimensional poverty index of Pakistan was affecting children in all provinces of the country.

Dr. Musa Bin Mohammad Nordin from Malaysia discussed the global epidemiology, while Dr David Prado from Guatemala highlighted the etiology and prevention of pneumonia in developing countries.

Others who spoke on the occasion include: Prof. Iqbal Memon, Prof. M. Ashraf Sultan and Dr. M.N. Lal and Prof. Zareen Fasih.