Children Suffer Due To Vaccine Shortages
The lives of millions of new born babies are at risk as the Federal EPI waits for the funding to add more vaccines to the program.
The federal EPI holds a few months stock of BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) and Tetanus Toxoid vaccine and a couple of days of stock of the syringes used for BCG. BCG vaccine is administrated immediately after birth to prevent tuberculosis.
The EPI Sindh had been facing an acute shortage of syringes use for BCG vaccination for the last two months. The additional director EPI Sindh Zahoor Baloch wrote a letter to Federal EPI to send the required amount of syringes but so far no response from Federal EPI has been shown.
There are possibilities that in many districts many new born babies may have not been vaccinated against T.B because of the unavailability of syringes.
“The reason behind the situation is negligence and ignorance of the government, which remained focused on eradicating polio and have put this routine immunization in a position of obscurity,” said a senior official at EPI who wish not to be named.
Last year the international partners supplied 93% of the vaccine while the government which had to procure 7% of the total required vaccines did not do its part.
The official said, “By this the government is playing with the lives of innocent children who are at an increased risk of losing their life from vaccine preventable diseases.”
On a contrary the secretary Ministry Of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Muhammad Ayub Sheikh said, “Rs.26.9 billion worth Revised-PC -1 of EPI has been sent for approval. The moment funds are released, Pakistan will procure all the required vaccines.”
It is important to mention here that on 4 March 2015 a high level meeting was held at PMA house Karachi and some senior members of the organization like Prof S Tipu Sultan, Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, Dr Qaisar Sajjad, Prof Idrees Adhi, Dr Qazi Wasiq, Dr Shershah Syed, Dr Hamid Manzoor and Dr Ahmed Bhimani were present. The meeting was also attended through video link by President PMA Centre from Quetta Dr Aziz Ahmed Lehri, Dr Ashraf Nizami, Dr Talha Sherwani and Dr Bashir Channa.
The alarming situation of the countrywide shortage of vaccines from 1st February was discussed and immediate actions were decided to be taken. After two months the ground realities remain the same.