KARACHI: Sindh Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) has decided to introduce rotavirus vaccine in the routine immunisation schedule of the EPI to reduce diarrhoea-related mortality in children below five in the province.
Eminent paediatrician Professor Jamal Raza, while talking to PPI, said that rotavirus vaccine would be included in routine vaccination immunisation by the end of the year and this will boost immunity of children against diarrhoea. He added that inclusion of the vaccine will significantly reduce the burden of disease amongst the children under five.
He also explained that rotavirus was the most common cause of diarrheal diseases among infants and young children. He informed that the virus caused the death of about 200,000 children worldwide annually, out of which 50 per cent were reported from India, Pakistan, Congo and Nigeria.
Professor Raza said that diarrhoea and pneumonia were the leading infant killers all over the world including Pakistan. He informed that vaccination coverage in rural areas of the province was very low and that there was a strong need to strengthen the EPI coverage area throughout the province.
He explained that contaminated water, poor sanitation, unhygienic foods and decayed fruits were major causes of waterborne diseases, especially diarrhoea. He informed that the children between six months to two years of age were most vulnerable to such diseases.
He also said that vaccines play a major role in eliminating and preventing diseases. He said that vaccines are available free of cost at all EPI centres across the province so that the parents can get their children vaccinated from there to take protection from unnecessary suffering, and added that the people need to be educated about the importance and availability of vaccines at EPI centres.