KARACHI: Due to the low rate of routine immunisation in Sindh, diseases such as measles, pneumonia and diphtheria have reared their ugly heads, said National Institute of Child Health (NICH) Director and Pakistan Paediatrics Association Sindh President Dr Syed Jamal Raza.
He was speaking at an interactive session with the media recently organised by the International Vaccine Access Centre Johns Hopkins University, United States, in collaboration with Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) Sindh.
He added that routine immunisation coverage has suffered because all the focus has been on the eradication of polio in Sindh. Punjab is doing well and their routine immunisation coverage is now 85% due to their strong reporting mechanism. “When routine immunisation can be improved in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa then why can’t it be improved in Sindh and Balochistan?” he questioned.
Discussing increasing immunisation coverage in Sindh, he said, “If the public demands immunisation for children, the government will be bound to take action.” He added that if measles cases are being reported in some areas why are official concerned not being held accountable.
Pakistan is the largest recipient of the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation (GAVI). “When international donors give us vaccines they want to see our performance too. If routine immunisation coverage doesn’t improve in Sindh they may withdraw funding,” he feared.