Credit By: EMRO
In Pakistan, the recent surge in measles cases, particularly in Karachi, highlights a concerning trend of vaccine-preventable diseases affecting children. According to reports, 106 children lost their lives to measles in just two hospitals in Karachi last year, underscoring the urgent need for improved immunization coverage in the city.
Importance of Primary Immunization
Experts emphasize that primary immunization is crucial in preventing diseases like measles, diphtheria, and polio. However, challenges such as vaccine hesitancy and bureaucratic inefficiencies hinder the effective distribution of vaccines to all targeted children, leaving many vulnerable to life-threatening illnesses.
Disparities in Immunization Coverage
While Punjab boasts a commendable immunization rate of around 90% among children, other provinces lag significantly. Sindh reports a 68% immunization rate, while Balochistan’s rate is alarmingly low at 38%. These disparities underscore the need for concerted efforts to improve immunization coverage across all provinces.
Ramping Up Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Drives
Health authorities in all provinces must prioritize and intensify their EPI drives to ensure that a larger percentage of children receive essential vaccines. Overcoming obstacles such as vaccine hesitancy and security threats to health workers, particularly in conflict-affected areas, requires community engagement and neutralizing violent elements that hinder vaccination efforts.
Replicating Best Practices and Ensuring a Healthy Generation
Punjab’s successful immunization initiatives serve as a model for other provinces to enhance vaccine coverage and improve health outcomes for children. By adopting similar strategies and addressing existing challenges, Pakistan can work towards achieving a healthy generation fully protected against major diseases through vaccination.
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