PESHAWAR: The health department on Monday launched a 13-day campaign to administer typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) to children in 22 districts of the province.
Health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra inaugurated the drive at the Police Services Hospital here saying vaccination is imperative to protect children aged from nine months to 15 years against typhoid fever and enable them to lead a healthy life.
He said the districts targeted by the drive had reported most typhoid cases in the province.
The minister said 2.8 million children would receive vaccine jabs free of charge during the campaign.
He said the health facilities damaged or destroyed by the monsoon disaster were being restored by the government from its own funds.
Mr Jhagra said the people of flood-hit areas would begin receiving health services soon.
He said the health department had delegated powers to committees working at the grassroots levels to resolve the healthcare-related issues on an emergency basis.
“Our government has upgraded services at 700 health centers in the province during the last seven months,” he said.
Director at the Expanded Programme on Immunisation Dr Mohammad Arif Khan, who was also in attendance, said TCV campaign was meant to protect the people, who were at high risk of being infected with typhoid fever.
He said more children were infected with and killed by typhoid fever every year than adults. “The administration of typhoid conjugate vaccine will be included in the routine immunisation programme of the health department,” he said.
Dr Irfan said targeted population would get free typhoid vaccine in Abbottabad, Bannu, Charsadda, Chitral, Dera Ismail Khan, Upper and Lower Dir, Hangu, Karak, Kohat, Upper Kurram, Lakki Marwat, Mansehra, Malakand, Mardan, Peshawar, Swat, Swabi, Haripur, Tank and Khyber districts.
On the occasion, director-general (health services) Dr Shaheen Afridi, additional director (health services) Dr Shahid Younas, secretary of the Pakistan Pediatric Association Dr Syed Bawar Shah, head of the WHO sub-office Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr Mohammad Babar Alam and Unicef provincial chief Abdullahi Mohammad Yousaf were also present.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Paediatric Association focal person for immunisation Prof Sabir Khan said typhoid fever spread through fecal–oral route and therefore, drinking water and safe disposal of excreta were prerequisite for its control and prevention.
“In 2017, 63 per cent of typhoid cases and 70 per cent of deaths in Pakistan were registered among children under 15 years of age. Typhoid conjugate vaccine can be given to children as young as six months of age and gives long-term protection against typhoid,” he said in a statement.
Prof Sabir said TCV had already been introduced into routine immunisation in Sindh and Punjab provinces.
He said the PPA collaborated with the health department to promote immunisation in the province.
Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2022