Karachi: Media sensitization seminar held on the topic of “IPV in routine immunization and child healthcare in Pakistan” has underscored the need for educating parents through media about Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), its administration and usefulness for the eradication of polio from the country.
The seminar was organized by Mediations in collaboration with UNICEF and Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) at a local hotel.
Speakers included EPI Sindh’s focal person Dr. Raj Kumar, Unicef’s Dr. Amjad Ansari, Mediations Pakistan’s executive director Wajeeh Akhter, Karachi Press Club’s secretary AH Khanzada and senior journalist, including Hassan Mansoor and Halima Mansoor.
Dr Kumar told the participants of the seminar that EPI, a disease prevention programme, is aimed at reducing illness, disability and mortality from childhood diseases that are preventable by immunization. These diseases are referred as nine EPI target diseases and cause millions of ailments, disabilities and deaths each year, he said.
Last year, he added, federal government introduced (IPV) in the schedule of Routine Immunization Programme. The IPV, in injection form, is administered at the age of 14 weeks to all eligible children. While polio drops (OPV) is also administered to all eligible children during each polio drive and as per routine immunization schedule, he added.
Highlighting the significance of IPV, Wajeeh Akhter said that sessions are being organized to sensitize and engage health reporters from all over the country to help understand immunization programme and need of introduction of IPV in addition to polio drops and importance of combination of OPV and IPV.
Speakers also stressed the need for educating parents keeping in view local customs through mass media and other direct engagement activities. “Pakistan is on track now and is near to eradication of polio virus from the country. More concentrated efforts are required to make the dream of polio-free Pakistan come true,” they opined.
A competition for best story writing on the subject was also announced on the occasion.