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Hib Vaccination can Prevent Pneumonia

roduction of the Hib vaccine into Bangladesh.

The study was conducted by researchers from International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B), Dhaka Shishu Hospital and John Hopkins University. The vaccine used in the study replaced the routine diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) vaccine with a DTP-Hib combination.

The combination vaccine did not require additional injections or visits to benefit from the expanded protection. Bangladesh recently applied for funding from the GAVI Alliance to introduce a DTP-Hepatitis B-Hib pentavalent combination which they hope to introduce into the routine childhood immunization program in 2008.

Despite a growing body of evidence, only 26% of the worlds children live in countries with access to Hib vaccine. This means hundreds of thousands of children in Asian countries are currently not benefiting from this simple, life-saving vaccine. However, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bhutan have reviewed available evidence and made the decision to introduce Hib vaccine and applied for support from the GAVI Alliance.

We are delighted that so many Asian countries are preparing to introduce the Hib vaccine and protect their children against Hib pneumonia and Hib meningitis said Julian Lob-Levyt, Executive Secretary of the GAVI Alliance. This is a clear indication of these governments commitment to reduce child mortality.

The WHO recommends that all countries adopt Hib vaccine into routine child immunization programs. They estimate that Hib globally is responsible for 400,000 deaths each year in children under five years of age and around 3 million cases of serious illness resulting in long term consequences such as deafness, learning disabilities, paralysis and mental retardation.

This simple, life-saving vaccine can prevent Hib pneumonia and meningitis in children, often called the invisible cause of forgotten chi
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