Some 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, reported the Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA).
The PAA noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended the introduction of pneumococcal vaccines in national immunisation programmes, 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. Pneumococcal vaccines would be part of our national immunisation programme by March 2012, for which we felicitated the government and international donor agencies,” said PPA Central President Dr. Amir Khan Jogezai.
The PPA noted that the GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) has provided $150 million dollars for purchase of 100 million doses of pneumococcal vaccine and added that by March 2012, 100 million doses of this vaccine would be available in Pakistan. Unfortunately, the PPA also added, that only 50 percent of children were covered under the national immunisation programme.
“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,” Jogezai said.
To a query, Jogezai said polio vaccine is only made available to the government by GAVI and is given free of cost to children through campaigns and vaccination centres. “Those looking for polio vaccine for their children at private hospitals and centres should know that this vaccine is acquired from government centres free of cost.”
Source: The News