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Pakistan introduces vaccine to prevent top child killer
Date:10/31/2008

r progress towards the MDGs," said Nina Schwalbe, Deputy Executive Secretary, Director of Policy of the GAVI Alliance.

"The arrival of pentavalent will be a new chapter in the history of Pakistan," said Dr. Hussain Bux Memon, Pakistan's programme manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI). "This vaccine will help us to save the lives of many children."

The Hib vaccine will be administered through a one-shot immunization called the pentavalent vaccine that also protects against four other deadly diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and hepatitis B. The Pakistan campaign follows a highly successful movement in other parts of the world to combat Hib. "The GAVI-supported vaccine has virtually eliminated Hib meningitis as a public health problem in Uganda. Other African countries like the Gambia, Kenya and Malawi are also reported to have seen tremendous decline" said Ms. Schwalbe. "We are hoping to see similar successes in Pakistan and in other countries where the vaccine is being introduced."

In Pakistan, it promises to save the nation's most vulnerable: the children of its poorest families. The government is providing the vaccine free of charge at rural health centers, basic health units, and state-run hospitals, as part of its national immunization program. Pakistan will be the first low-income country in South Asia to introduce the Hib vaccine.

Hib vaccine is a safe, effective and highly cost-effective intervention used for more than 18 years in developed and many developing countries, where it has virtually eliminated Hib disease. It is being purchased with funding from the GAVI Alliance. Since 2000, GAVI has provided funding support and supplies for Hib vaccine under the pentavalent form to the poorest countries in the world. The organization committed US $465 million for the introduction of the vaccine.


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Contact: Rose Reis
rreis@jhsph.edu
410-502-4283
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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