Routine immunisation

Published May 4, 2021 - Updated May 4, 2021 06:32am

AS countries around the world grapple with the deadly third wave of Covid-19 and we witness the horrific devastation across the border, it is easy to forget about other prevalent infections and their damaging impact on countless lives. While millions wait desperately for any brand of the Covid vaccine, there are many who have little awareness of the necessity of routine vaccinations that can prevent common illnesses such as measles and polio. They thus end up endangering the lives of their children. In fact, it emerged at an event recently organised by the Ministry of National Health Services in connection with World Immunisation Week (observed in the last week of April every year) that vaccination provided under the government’s Expanded Programme of Immunisation can prevent 17pc of fatalities among young Pakistani children. The EPI provides free essential immunisation for children up to 15 months of age. This set of inoculations prevents 11 illnesses: tuberculosis, polio, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, haemophilus influenza type B, hepatitis B, diarrhoea, pneumonia and typhoid.

Poor vaccination coverage results in thousands of deaths of small children and infants who have not received adequate care at home or in public hospitals that often lack proper medical services. This gaping hole in our healthcare system is preventing us from achieving SDG 3 that relates to infant and child mortality. While matters have slowly improved over the years, the mortality rate still remains high — as many as 67 children out of 100,000 die before their fifth birthday. Unfortunately, poor facilities and the government’s apathy have taken us to a point where many illnesses that have been eradicated in the rest of the world, such as polio, are still prevalent in Pakistan. The lives of thousands of children can be saved through vaccines that are part of our routine immunisation programme. Unfortunately, free immunisation on its own is not enough if there is no attempt on the part of our health authorities to make vaccines accessible to the public and to educate the latter on their importance.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021

Opinion

Trouble in Camelot
Updated 06 May 2021

Trouble in Camelot

The electorate knows better than to swallow the government’s rhetoric.
Time to wake up
Updated 05 May 2021

Time to wake up

The criticism reflects our failure to counter rising religious intolerance and bigotry, and also exposes a diplomatic debacle.

Editorial

Proceed with caution
Updated 06 May 2021

Proceed with caution

The slightest loosening of SOP protocols could send us hurling in the direction where India finds itself today.
06 May 2021

IPP dues

THE ECC decision to pay the first tranche of outstanding dues of one set of IPPs, and further delay the payments of...
06 May 2021

Violence against doctors

HEALTHCARE workers and doctors’ associations in two major hospitals of KP are adamant that the KP Healthcare...
05 May 2021

Path of growth

FINANCE MINISTER Shaukat Tarin finally specified the future direction that the country’s economic policy will take...
05 May 2021

Human rights 2020

THE human rights situation in Pakistan, almost predictably bleak every year, was deeply impacted in 2020 by an...
Unreasonable behaviour
Updated 05 May 2021

Unreasonable behaviour

Usman Buzdar should reprimand Dr Awan for her coarse behaviour and make sure she tenders a public apology.