KARACHI: Pakistan Medical Association on Wednesday demanded that the federal government act fast and ensure availability of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) to protect millions of children from tuberculosis.

They expressed their deep concern over the vaccine shortage across the country though the Sindh health department said ‘sufficient’ quantity of anti-TB vaccine was available with its immunisation programme.

After receiving some media reports about the vaccine shortage, PMA office-bearers gathered at their Karachi chapter office where its representatives from elsewhere in the country joined through a video link to mull over the situation that they called ‘serious and grave’. The situation was alarming because millions of infants had been denied vaccination since Feb 1 due to its countrywide shortage, they said. They asked the government to save their lives by making the vaccine available on a war-footing basis.

“There could be many reasons for the shortage of the vaccine stock, but the responsibility of providing the vaccine totally rests with the federal EPI cell that was not able to procure it in sufficient quantity,” said PMA secretary general Dr Mirza Ali Azhar.

It is worth noting here that the BCG vaccine is mandatory for every newborn in Pakistan for being integral part of the routine EPI programme. The vaccine is on the World Health Organisation list of essential medicines as being the most important medication needed in a basic health system.

However, a senior health official denied that Sindh was facing such shortage. “We have sufficient quantity of TB vaccine in our store, which included the vaccine provided to us by the federal government and the stock Sindh purchased from its own funds through a PC-1,” said Dr Khalid Shaikh, special secretary in the health department, while speaking to Dawn.

Another official said Sindh’s prudence saved it from facing any shortage of the vaccine as it had recently purchased it on an emergency basis.

Pakistan has the sixth highest number of TB cases across the world.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Editorial

Urgent challenge
Updated 02 Mar, 2024

Urgent challenge

The incoming finance team will have to prioritise economic decisions over political considerations and personal whims.
Contempt ruling
02 Mar, 2024

Contempt ruling

AN Islamabad High Court decision penalising the city’s deputy commissioner, a senior superintendent of police and ...
Streets of death
02 Mar, 2024

Streets of death

A LIFE without a sense of permanence is one aspect of a human crisis as complex as homelessness. But the fact that...
Starting over
Updated 01 Mar, 2024

Starting over

Both govt and opposition must resolve that their decisions will prioritise the public good over anything else.
Missing the point
01 Mar, 2024

Missing the point

IN a change of heart, the caretaker prime minister attended the hearing of the Baloch missing persons’ case in the...
Fleecing power consumers
01 Mar, 2024

Fleecing power consumers

THE so-called independent inquiry committee, formed by the power ministry to probe charges of excessive billing by...