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Health

APP
November 15, 2019

Pakistan becomes first country to introduce typhoid conjugate vaccine

Health

APP
Fri, Nov 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has become the first country in the world to introduce typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) into its routine immunization programme through a campaign mode in Sindh.

The government of Pakistan is launching the vaccine with a campaign in Sindh province in a response to an outbreak of typhoid since November 2016, a press release Friday said.

The launching ceremony of the Typhoid vaccine introduction was held in a local hotel in Karachi presided by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and Provincial Minister Health, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho jointly.

High officials from the Federal Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and Provincial department including Director General Health, National Program Manager EPI, National Coordinator EOC, Director General Health, Sindh, Director, EPI, Sindh also participated.

While sharing his remarks at the launching ceremony, Dr Zafar Mirza said “Children are disproportionately affected by typhoid and its associated complications, and we strongly believe that TCV would protect our children against potentially fatal disease of Typhoid, starting with Sindh Province, where the need is most urgent, the government of Pakistan has planned a phased national introduction strategy with strong, coordinated support from global and local partners.

”In 2017, 63% of typhoid cases and 70% of typhoid deaths in Pakistan were among children younger than 15 years of age.

To prevent these deaths, the phased introduction will begin with a two-week campaign targeting 10.1 million children 9 months to 15 years of age in more than 460 urban union councils of Sindh province with the funding support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

This will include 4.7 million children from Karachi.

As the campaign needs to reach older children, schools will play a major role.

Following the campaign, the vaccine will be given to 9-month old infants as part of routine immunization at EPI centers in all parts of the province.

“Typhoid is a highly contagious disease that spreads more quickly and easily when people live in crowded neighborhoods with weak water and sanitation infrastructure.

Beginning the vaccination in urban areas is critical in preventing the disease among the communities most at risk,” said Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Provincial Minister of Sindh for Health, and Population Welfare.

Prevention through vaccination is one of the most effective interventions to reduce typhoid infections.

The TCV campaign will be conducted from 18th to 30th November in Sindh and will be followed by TCV being a part of the Routine Immunization Programme in December.

The government is also promoting WASH solutions (water, sanitation and hygiene) alongside TCV introduction.

TCV is a one-dose vaccine, injected intramuscularly, that is lower cost, has higher efficacy, and is expected to provide long lasting immunity in adults, children, and infants older than 9 months of age.

UNICEF Representative in Pakistan Aida Girma said “We applaud the Government of Pakistan for prioritizing immunization of children at risk of typhoid”.

“Their phased national introduction plan for TCV will ensure that the vaccine will reach the children most at risk first.

” “Before the discovery of antibiotics, typhoid would kill as many as one in five people who contracted it,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi.

“The rise of extreme drug resistant typhoid risks bringing us back to levels of mortality not seen since the 19th century, posing a risk to all of us.

That’s why typhoid conjugate vaccine is so important and why the government of Pakistan deserves praise for being the first to introduce this lifesaver into its routine immunization programme.