Dawn News

Pakistan begins anti-pneumonia drive

Pakistan is the first country in South Asia to launch a campaign against the disease, according to UN children's agency UNICEF, which is working with the government on the project.– File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday launched a drive to vaccinate 5.5 million children against pneumococcal disease to fight pneumonia, which kills tens of thousands of youngsters in the country every year.

Pakistan is the first country in South Asia to launch a campaign against the disease, according to UN children's agency UNICEF, which is working with the government on the project.

More than 325,000 under-fives die in Pakistan every year, UNICEF said, and the lung condition is among the main culprits.

“Pneumonia is one of the leading killers of Pakistani children, accounting for about 19 per cent of child mortality,” UNICEF spokesman Zeeshan Suhail told AFP.

Zahid Larek, the head of Pakistan's expanded immunisation programme, told AFP pneumonia claimed the lives of more than 35,000 children every year.

Vaccination will begin this week in central Punjab province, which is home to around 60 per cent of the country's population of around 180 million.

The southern province of Sindh and Pakistan-administered Kashmir will follow later in the year.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has given his backing to the pneumococcal campaign to try to convince people to accept the vaccine.


Email news tips and feedback to News Desk, submit blogs to Blog Desk and share photos and Videos with Special Projects Desk.


Comments (6) Closed



N Mahmood
Oct 09, 2012 08:17pm
Commendable step in the right direction, should include HiB vaccine along with polyvalent pneumococcal vaccine, combined two have reduced meningitis, pneumonia, bacterial epiglotitis and related infections significantly in West.
Hello1
Oct 09, 2012 03:14pm
Good step because according to the WHO, pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children worldwide and kills an estimated 1.4 million children, under the age of 5, every year.
Naseem Akhtar
Oct 09, 2012 12:20pm
Haven't tackled polio, and now are venturing to fight pneumonia........what can one say.....
Cyrus Howell
Oct 09, 2012 03:37pm
It kills the elderly who could also use the vaccine.
Safia Kashif
Oct 09, 2012 02:25pm
Great step! Its one of the most expensive vaccine needed for children.
wasim
Oct 09, 2012 01:07pm
Polio hasn't been tackled because of the ignorance of the people and those misguiding them. Vaccination of ANY disease is a positive step. We need healthy young children.