New polio vaccine launched
ISLAMABAD: The government decided to launch a new oral polio vaccine targeting the P-1 poliovirus on September 27-29, in a meeting presided by Health Minister Mohammad Nasir Khan. A National Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) was distributed to the representatives of the provincial governments at the meeting. The policy aims to augment the routine immunisation coverage in Pakistan.
“The P-2 poliovirus has not been seen in Pakistan since October 1999 and the P-3 virus has also been eradicated,” remarked Dr Anthony Mounts, a senior medical officer of the World Health Organisation.
The polio vaccine currently used in Pakistan is a trivalent vaccine equipped to fight all three types of poliovirus. The new mono-valent vaccine is being used in India, Yemen, Somalia and other countries at the final stages of eradication. The P-1 poliovirus is typically the last to go.
The Health Minister praised the EPI and its Financial Stability Plan, and stressed on the optimum utilisation of resources to ensure that institutional and individual targets are being met. He asked the provinces to cooperate with the federal Health Ministry to ensure the success of the initiative.
Syed Anwar Mehmood, the Federal Health Secretary, said that the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council has approved the Rs 11.5 billion PC-1 for the EPI for the next five years.
Prof Dr Karamat, the Executive Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) highlighted the institute’s efforts towards priority health programmes like the EPI. The NIH announced that it would provide diagnostic facilities to the patients from 7:30am to 9pm everyday.