WHO, UNICEF to extend support for anti-measles drive

Published on February 16, 2013 at 9:30 am

WHO, UNICEF to extend support for anti-measles drive

WHO, UNICEF to extend support for anti-measles drive

WHO, UNICEF to extend support for anti-measles drive

ISLAMABAD – Acting Wafaqi Mohtasib M. Salman Faruqui on Friday held a meeting with the representatives of WHO, UNICEF and GAVI Mission, to discuss situation related to measles outbreak in the country.Dr Nadia Taleb, Regional Advisor VPI, WHO assured the international community stood by Pakistan in its effort to eradicate transmittable diseases particularly measles from the country.She also informed that the WHO and UNICEF have decided to provide funding for procurement of measles vaccine and to cover operational cost for routine and special immunization campaigns aimed at vaccinating children aged nine months to five years.The Head of GAVI Mission, Anne Cronin, appreciated Government of Pakistan’s prompt response to the measles outbreak. She said that Pakistan is one country that has all the technical components’ capacity and political will to eradicate measles by 2015.Dr Robert Kezaala, Focal Person for Measles, UNICEF emphasized the need for creating an effective mechanism for supervision of data collection and verification in order to establish effective liaison between the technical and operational levels as well as demand-creation and actual administration of vaccines. This is imperative to achieve the goals of immunization campaign, he stressed.Salman Faruqui, on behalf of the Government and people of Pakistan, thanked the international community for its timely support in coping with the situation caused by measles spread.He appreciated the representatives of WHO and other missions for their efforts in helping Pakistan control twin menaces of measles and polio.Also present at the meeting were Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Special Advisor to Prime Minister, Secretaries Ministries of IPC, National Regulations and Services, members of the committee formed by the Federal Ombudsman on measles outbreak, officials from other related ministries and departments.Pakistan ranks 6th among high TB risk statesPakistan ranks sixth globally among the 22 high tuberculosis risk countries, contributing 43% of the disease towards the Eastern-Mediterranean region of World Health Organization (WHO). According to available data, the incidence of TB per 100,000 population in Pakistan is 181, case notification per 100,000 per year is 150 while the treatment success rate is 85 per cent.Official sources said more than 700,000 TB patients have been treated free of cost and 100 per cent latest treatment methodology of DOTS coverage is achieved in the country. They said training and health education materials have been developed and all concerned health care providers have been trained. They said external quality assurance for sputum microscopy is implemented in 40 districts of the country while five reference laboratories have been established included one at federal level and one each at provincial level. They said an estimated one-third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB. The World Health Organization is working on its plan to cut TB prevalence rates and deaths by half by 2015, they added.Dr Sharif Astori from Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC), said TB is an infectious bacterial disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. He added the disease is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease. He said in healthy people, infection with mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, since the person’s immune system acts to wall off the bacteria.He said the symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. He added tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.

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