All types of vaccines are safe for children, especially those that prevent typhoid and polio, advised by medical experts.
At a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Friday organised by the Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Society of Pakistan (MMIDSP), Dr Ali Saleem said that doctors were hoping for the complete eradication of poliovirus from Pakistan. “Unfortunately, we have more reported cases this year as compared to last year,” he said.
“Routine immunisation hasn’t seemed to work well,” Dr Saleem pointed out. “We have to remobilise educated persons too,” he urged, adding that there was a need to address misconceptions regarding the polio vaccine.
He said that positive environmental samples were still surfacing from different areas of the country, stressing that appropriate steps were needed to reach the missed children. Water samples taken every month since March this year from sewerage drains showed an abundant presence of the wild poliovirus in different parts of Karachi, especially in Gaddap Town.
Speaking on the situation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) outbreak in Ratodero, Larkana district, Dr Sunil Dodani said that the high-risk areas have not been identified completely. He said that practices by doctors and the community’s attitude in Larkana portrayed a different picture.
Dr Dodani said that children did not fall under the high-risk group. “Ours is one of the top countries in the world where therapeutic injections are the norm.” He stressed the need to implement injection safety practices across the country, especially in rural areas.
Dr Rehana Siddiqui said that while there was an adult HIV centre operating in Larkana, a separate pediatric unit was established after the outbreak occurred. “Doctors and parents were responsible for the Ratodero outbreak,” she highlighted.
Sharing the figures, Dr Siddiqui said that there were nine blood banks in Larkana, including four established by the government. She said that the practice of blood transfusion was not up to the mark.
Appreciating the efforts of the Sindh government regarding the typhoid vaccination campaign, Dr Fyezah Jahan said that Pakistan is the first country that has launched a mass campaign of typhoid vaccination. “It’s a very timely intervention by the government,” she added.
“We don’t produce any vaccine,” Dr Jahan pointed out. She added, however, that we must benefit from the production of other countries. “There is no way to eliminate typhoid until we have clean drinking water and a proper sanitation system,” Dr Jahan urged.