The health department on Monday launched immunisation on emergency basis to prevent epidemics of vaccine-preventable childhood diseases in the aftermath of massive floods in the province.

Vaccination drive to prevent epidemics after floods

“There is a looming danger of outbreak of childhood ailments, especially measles and cholera, due to which we have started a 12-day campaign in 36 districts to administer vaccine to the intended population,” Dr Mohammad Arif Khan, the director of expanded programme on immunisation (EPI), told Dawn. He said that the floods triggered by incessant rains endangered the lives of the children, who risked childhood ailments that could be prevented through vaccination.Vaccination drive to prevent epidemics after floods, He added that the drive would last till September 12 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including tribal districts to target 103,692 children under two years, with special focus on the flood-stricken areas as the population there faced risk of infections. The official said that they had made all arrangements in meetings held on emergency basis with all the district health officers to reach the target population and safeguard it against the diseases happening in calamity-hit areas. He said that the campaign was necessary at that stage because the routine immunisation had suffered during the past few months as attention was focused on Covid-19 vaccination and polio immunisation. “We are going to enhance Covid-19 vaccination in the province, which is only 61 per cent. It is very low and the National Command and Operation Centre wants to inoculate at least 80 per cent population against coronavirus.

Technically, we require administering jabs to 90 per cent people against Covid-19,” said Dr Arif. He said that they ran a month-long Covid-19 campaign that was stopped on August 22 due to devastating floods. He said that drive would be resumed soon because the new variants of Covid-19 posed serious threats of infection. “Similarly, our technicians and resources have been diverted towards polio immunisation as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa accounts for all 17 polio cases reported in Pakistan this year so far,” he added. The official said that North Waziristan recorded 15 polio cases and Lakki Marwat two cases. “Therefore, we are also carrying out polio campaigns to save the children from the crippling disease,” he added. Vaccination drive to prevent epidemics after floods, He said that efforts against polio and Covid-19 affected routine immunisation, which dropped to 60 per cent from 80 per He said that they wanted to reach all the people as the recent floods were likely to cause more infections, especially to children. “We have also decided to cover the children, who have received first doses but haven’t got the remaining, so they could be fully protected,” said Dr Arif. prevent epidemics, He added that health department had complete data about the missed children and would administer them vaccine at any cost. He said that in October, a maiden typhoid vaccination drive would be launched during which people from nine months to 15 years would be given free jabs. He said that EPI had 1,100 fixed centres located in health facilities where the children could be brought for shots in addition to deployment of teams in the field to reach the people in their homes and camps etc. “We have 3,500 EPI technicians and have enlisted the services of other health workers to ensure that the target people get the vaccine during the drive. Children would also get oral polio vaccine,” he said. Dr Arif said that the ongoing drive would cover the dip suffered by routine immunisation and would help to scale up immunity of the people.

Source: This news is originally published by dawn

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