Childhood diseases in KP: Area-specific campaigns to promote vaccinations

PESHAWAR/Dawn: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department is devising a comprehensive strategy under which A health worker administers polio drops to a child in Sethi Town in Peshawar on Wednesday. — Dawninformation would be provided to people in local languages to increase awareness of benefits of vaccines and protect children against nine childhood diseases, including polio.

“We are working on a plan to design messages in Pashto, Hindko and local dialects for specific areas and targeted population. The move seeks to create demand for vaccination. People would also be given information about immunisation in their local languages through advertisements in print and electronic media,” officials said.

They said that presently the advertisements concerning vaccination were being prepared for audience at the national level, which failed to reach local populations.

For example, most women in rural areas don’t understand Urdu due to which such immunisation campaigns failed to catch the people’s attention, they said. The specially-designed messages targeting certain communities will be disseminated to prevail upon the parents that vaccination safeguards their children against a host of diseases, they said.

After the passage of 18th amendment which devolved health department to the provinces and the federal ministry of health stood redundant, the government established technical communication committee at the federal level and asked the provinces to do so.

Two months ago, the provincial technical communication committee was established with representatives of the World Health Organisation, Unicef and health department as its members to draw up a comprehensive strategy to improve immunisation. The committee was required to hold meeting on quarterly basis.

However, a core group was formed to look after day-to-day issues concerning communication on immunisation. The officials said that previously the advocacy campaign was centered on polio where parents were asked to administer oral polio vaccine to their children while the new strategy would promote immunisation against all nine vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.

“The province has 90 per cent immunisation coverage in central districts like Peshawar, Mardan, Swat and Nowshera while in some districts it is as low as 30 per cent,” said the relevant health officials.

They said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa immunisation programme had also suffered a setback due to more focus on polio, as measles killed dozen of children due to non-vaccination. It has been felt that the situation with regard to immunisation is not satisfactory. In this backdrop, an advocacy campaign is being designed by the core group that will be implemented after approval of the provincial communication committee, they said.

“Earlier, the campaign not only failed to create demand for OPV as the province recorded 20 cases of total 58 in 2012 and six of the 27 cases nationwide in 2013, it has also adversely impacted general immunisation as the focus of health workers remained on polio vaccination,” the officials said.

They said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was authorised to put in place its own strategy formulated in the local context to gain social acceptability and enhance immunization.

There is clear role and responsibility of all the stakeholders in the committee, they said. “We are also committed to doing away with about 30,000 refusals against use of OPV as the unvaccinated children pose a serious threat to the vaccinated children,” they said.

The officials said that the committee with representation from the polio control room at the Chief Minister’s House will provide administrative support to the polio efforts at the grassroots level.

Get a better hosting deal with a hostgator coupon or play poker on party poker
Copyright 2011 Childhood diseases in KP: Area-specific campaigns to promote vaccinations .
Joomla Templates by Wordpress themes free