Health Minister Salima Hashmi has said that improving routine immunisation was essential for elimination of diseases. She said that provision of preventive vaccination was a fundamental right of every child. She expressed these views while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Global Immunisation and Mother and Child Health Week at Children Hospital on Wednesday.
Salima said deadly diseases were reoccurring due to non-achievement of routine immunization coverage targets and lessening of routine preventive vaccination coverage.
Punjab Health Director General Dr Tavir Ahmed, Institute of Child Health Dean Prof Tahir Masood, Children Hospital Medical Director Dr Ahsan Rathor, Prof Tariq Bhutta, Prof Sajid Maqbool Khan, representatives of UNICEF, World Health Organization, Lady Health Worker Programme Provincial Coordinator Dr Akhtar Rashid Malik and other senior doctors were present on the occasion.
Salima regretted that one child out of every ten died in Pakistan before the age of five. She said the media had made people extremely aware about their rights and added that resources which should have been utilised on health sector had not been made available to it. She observed that children, pregnant women and mothers were suffering from diseases because of non-availability of balanced diet.
Salima said that during the Global Immunization and Mother and Child Health Week, 48,000 lady health workers and more than 5,000 community workers would participate in various activities from April 24 to April 30. She said special campaign for eradication of measles would be launched during this week, and measles prevention vaccination would be made available to the children of six months to ten years of age.
The health minister said that the lady health workers would also go door-to-door and provide anti-worm tablets to 7 million children for their better growth. She said that special arrangements have been made for preventive vaccination of children during this week and more than 6 million children who have not been vaccinated before, would be vaccinated during this week. She said effective awareness against measles disease would also be provided to the citizens along with distribution of pamphlets regarding dengue fever, pneumonia and dysentery by lady health visitors. She said more than ten lakh pregnant women would also be provided preventive vaccination and would be persuaded to get themselves checked up by expert gynecologist, LHVs or trained birth attendants than traditional midwives.