KARACHI: Ex-President, Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA), Sindh, Prof Dr Jamal Raza, stated that the upcoming typhoid campaign is extremely important, and the PPA urges parents to get their children vaccinated against this drug-resistant form of typhoid.
He said this during a recent health reporters’ orientation session on Polio and the upcoming Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) jointly organized by the Emergency Operation Centre for Polio and Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Sindh, held at the EPI Hall.
Prof Jamal Raza said the typhoid campaign would take place from November 18 to November 30 and is expected to vaccinate over 10.1 million children from 9 months of age to 15 years of age. He added that polio eradication is a national cause, and we all must play our part to see us over the finish line.
Around 20 health journalists representing the country’s major news channels and papers attended the session including Coordinator, EOC Sindh, Rehan Baloch, Project Director, EPI, Dr Akram Sultan, Technical focal person, EOC Sindh, Dr Ahmed Ali Shaikh, Dr Shoukat Ali, Team Lead, UNICEF Sindh, and others.
Project Director, EPI, Dr Akram Sultan, on occasion, quoted, “This is a critical campaign. Drug-resistant typhoid is prevalent, and through this vaccine, children will develop long term immunity and will be protected from typhoid fever.” He appealed to the media to support this campaign and raise awareness among parents regarding childhood vaccinations.
Dr Ahmed Ali Shaikh from the EOC Sindh gave a presentation on polio strategies stating, “In 2014 we had 30 cases in Sindh, in 2018 there was only 1. Yes, there have been difficulties in 2019, but we have a golden opportunity to turn this around from December onwards as there will be regular campaigns from December to June, which have been planned very carefully to intercept virus transmission.”
Coordinator, EOC Sindh, Rehan Baloch, informed that there would be a case response campaign from November 4 in Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Matiari, Jaccobabd, Dadu, and SBA with a target of 1.7 million children.
Following this, there will be a nation-wide campaign from December 16 in Sindh where 9 million children (2.4 million in Karachi) under five years of age will be receiving the OPV.
General Secretary, PPA Sindh, Prof Dr Khalid Shafi, said that since there has been a campaign gap, many people are not actively seeking polio vaccinations. He further informed that, through the help of the PPA, more than 30 private hospitals and 50 private pediatric clinics are providing polio vaccinations free of cost during campaigns, even during consultation times in the evening.
Abid Hasan, Media Officer EOC Sindh, addressed the reporters and said that the resistance in communities was because of repeated campaigns as well as negative social media videos, which damaged the program significantly. However, as there has been a gap in campaigns, this resistance should not be as strong in the next campaign, and we need the media to support us to increase demand for vaccinations.
He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are now the only two countries in the world where polio cases are still being reported; however, we have an excellent opportunity now to turn the tide and get polio eradication on track.