Health Minister Calls For Efforts To Eliminate Vaccine Preventable Diseases
The provincial health minister stated that the health department was considering expanding its EPI program to include other vaccines, such as HPV to prevent cervical cancer.
The Sindh Health Minister stated on Tuesday that despite improvements in immunisation rates, Pakistan has not yet reached 100 percent vaccination coverage, where many children are dying from diseases that are preventable by vaccine. She urged a concerted effort to be made to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases from the nation.
She said several successful vaccination drives had been launched in the nation to control infectious disease outbreaks, and cited the example of Covid-19 vaccination, which Pakistan was able to contain the pandemic because of.
Attendees at the meeting included representatives from national and provincial EPI programs, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), GAVI, and Sindh’s Emergency Operation Cell (EOC).
The Minister also praised the initiatives to reach target coverage with Typbar-TCV, a typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV), in the major cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar, but stressed that it was crucial that the coverage for this vaccine be more widespread.
The provincial health teams should be commended for organising one of the best vaccination campaigns in the nation. “It is crucial for us as a nation to reach the target population for the Covid-19 vaccination.”
The provincial health minister stated that the health department was considering expanding its EPI program to include other vaccines, such as HPV to prevent cervical cancer. She expressed the hope that GAVI would assist the province in this endeavour.
She added that the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) was working to contact every missed child in the province and that it was the national responsibility of the authorities to reach all “zero dose children.”
According to the Minister, it is imperative that a birth register be included in the immunisation program because Pakistan as a country needs one. “I’m optimistic that we can accomplish that with NADRA’s assistance and with support from the federal government.”
The health minister insisted that since the virus had been contained to particular regions and some populations, it was now the right time to eradicate polio from Pakistan and that a final push was necessary to do so.
“We still need to eradicate polio even though there is a lot of internal population movement because Pakistan and Afghanistan are the last two nations still harbouring the disease. The EPI is essential to maintaining the health of our country, so it is unacceptable that, in this day and age, we are still losing children to measles or meningitis.”