KARACHI - Around 60 per cent deaths of children caused by Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPD) can be saved worldwide. An estimated 19.5 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines. No new cases of polio virus were reported in the ongoing year in Pakistan, while in 2017 eight cases were reported. Senior Adviser to the EOC Sindh, WHO, Keith Feldon expressed these views while speaking at the health awareness seminar on “Routine Immunization” held at the Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), UoK on Friday.

Every Pakistani is required to play its due role in eradication of 10 deadly diseases, including childhood TB, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Hib influenza, Measles, Pneumonia and diarrhea. The seminar was jointly organised by the Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI), Sindh Health Department, and International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi.

Feldon said that EPI, Sindh Health Department, was providing vaccines for less than two years children against ten deadly diseases on free of cost at every EPI Centre. He said that immunization prevented illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus. Talking about the importance of vaccinations, he said that immunization currently averted an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year. An additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided, however, if global vaccination coverage improves, he maintained.

He pointed out that Rotaviruses vaccines have already been added into to immunization program in Pakistan, and added that Rotaviruses were the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in young children throughout the world. This vaccine was introduced in 90 countries by the end of 2016, including six in some parts of the country, and global coverage was estimated at 25 per cent, he said. Later on, Suneel Raja of EPI Cell Sindh delivered a detailed power point presentation on ‘routine immunization’ in the seminar.

He said that following the demand in communities and families, EPI is conducting awareness seminars in public and private educational institutions.

He said that students can raise awareness effectively among their families, friends and community to make them enable to recognize unvaccinated children. Getting all eligible children vaccinated is the responsibility of everyone, he said.