Islamabad: Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani, Minister, Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) has recently announced the introduction of a new vaccine to protect Pakistani children from pneumonia – a disease that takes the lives of approximately 1.3 million children globally before their fifth birthday.
With this launch, Pakistan is the first country in South Asia to introduce the pneumococcal vaccine.
“As the first country in South Asia to introduce the pneumococcal vaccine, Pakistan’s commitment to immunizing all children against vaccine-preventable diseases is to be applauded,” said Dan Rohrmann, UNICEF Pakistan Country Representative. “We are proud to partner with the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to innoculate millions of children against a disease that continues to take too many lives.”
The latest UN estimates indicate that pneumonia accounts for 18 per cent of child mortality – the primary cause of death among young children globally. In Pakistan, more than 352,000 children die before reaching their fifth birthday and almost one in five of these deaths are due to pneumonia. While the new pneumococcal vaccines cannot prevent every case of pneumonia, they do prevent a significant proportion of cases and therefore have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives from preventable sickness and death.