Typhoid is a highly contagious disease that spreads more quickly and easily when people live in crowded neighborhoods with weak water and sanitation infrastructure. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been plagued by an outbreak of extremely resistant typhoid fever. A report from WHO describes an ongoing outbreak of typhoid fever in the Sindh province of Pakistan that has been going on since November 2016.

It was first discovered in the Hyderabad district, but has since spread to Karachi. It was newly estimated that 10,195 cases of extensive drug resistant (XDR) typhoid have been reported in Sindh from November 2016 to August 2019. Most of these cases were reported in Karachi and Hyderabad. No one can denied the fact that Pakistan and India are the most affected countries in Asia.

In 2017, 63 percent of typhoid cases and 70 percent of typhoid deaths in Pakistan were among children younger than 15 years of age. I really appreciate Pakistan which has become the first country in the world to introduce typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) into its routine immunisation program through a campaign in Sindh. It is strongly believed that TCV will help protect our children against the potentially fatal disease. The phased introduction will begin with a two week campaign targeting 10.1 million children of nine months to 15 years of age in more than 460 urban union councils of Sindh with funding support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

This will include 4.7 million children from Karachi. I heartedly applaud the government of Pakistan prioritizing immunization of children at risk of typhoid. The typhoid conjugate vaccine is highly important and the government of Pakistan deserves praise for being the first to introduce this lifesaver into its routine immunization program.