‘Doctors’ support needed for disease prevention in children’ | Pakistan Today

‘Doctors’ support needed for disease prevention in children’

Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed on Friday asked child specialists to collaborate with the government in its efforts to protect children against diseases preventable through vaccinations. Speaking at a session organised by non-governmental organisation (NGO) Trust for Vaccines and Immunisation (TVI), headed by senior paediatrician Prof Abdul Ghaffar Billoo, he appreciated the trust’s initiative for vaccination of school- and madressah-going children against typhoid. The programme was also attended by doctors of the city district government, provincial health department officials and private medical practitioners.
Commending the NGO’s spirit, the doctors involved and the pace with which more than 120,000 children from Gulshan and Jamshed Towns were vaccinated against typhoid, the minister said such campaigns were the prerequisite for health of children and need to be replicated. “Child specialists, general physicians and volunteers should assist the government in its Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI),” he said. “Polio eradication has emerged as a major challenge for the country, as it is among the last few yet to get rid of the virus. Presence of polio virus in our environment has also been notified by the WHO and other international bodies.”
Referring to research studies showing 500 people per 100,000 population that contracted typhoid in Karachi, Billoo said children are the most vulnerable to the disease that is transmitted through contaminated water and food coupled with poor hygiene. “Average cost of treatment of typhoid fever as an outpatient is Rs 4,000 and this could rise up to Rs.30,000 if the patient is treated admitted to a hospital,” he said. “Due to high treatment costs it is best to take early precaution against typhoid.”
The paediatrician reiterated that vaccines are known to be the most effective solution for prevention of the Typhoid fever. Sharing the results of the Typhoid Vaccination Campaign with the participants, TVI’s Dr Mustafa Shah said approximately 12,000 vaccines were administered to students in 1,800 public and private schools as well as madressahs in Gulshan Town and Jamshed Town. “Physicians, teachers, head teachers and religious leaders played an important role in convincing parents about the benefits of vaccination and its impact in protection of children against the disease,” he said, “the role of government was also critical in encouraging schools to participate in the vaccination programmes.”
“Schools serve as the most feasible venue for improving vaccination coverage not only for typhoid but also for all routine vaccines,” added Shah. Expressing his gratitude to Sindh Health Department, City District Government Karachi, Aga Khan University Hospital and International Vaccine Institute for their support, he said the TVI is committed to minimise typhoid in Karachi and the country as well.
Following the success in the two towns of metropolis, the TVI intends to soon launch the campaign in all other towns with main focus on school- and madressah-going children.

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