Anti-pneumonia vaccine launched in Pokhara

- SHIVA SHARMA, Kaski
Anti-pneumonia vaccine launched in Pokhara

Jan 18, 2015-

In a bid to reduce under-five mortality, the government has introduced pneumococcal vaccine (PCV-10) to fight pneumonia for the first time across the country. The programme to administer the vaccine to children free of cost was launched in Pokhara on Sunday chiefly targeting the western region of the country.

While handing over the vaccine to health personnel, Minister for Health and Population Khagraj Adhikari said that the immunisation programme was not only initiated to reduce child mortality rate “but also intended to ensure child rights”.

“The vaccine will be available for free at different medical facilities and vaccine administration centres,” said Secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha of the Ministry of Health and Population. “We hope that the vaccine will help achieve our goal of reducing child mortality rate by 2015.”

According to Shrestha, the vaccine efficiently wards off 10 types of diseases, including Pneumonia, Meningitis, and Bacteremia, among others. However, the vaccine has to be administered, at intervals, for three times to infants above six months old.  The programme, which will be conducted in 16 districts in the western region, will be executed in a phase-wise manner throughout the nation following the completion of the programme in western districts.

With the introduction of the programme to administer the vaccine for free, people will no longer be compelled to empty their wallets due to high prices for the vaccine at private medical facilities.

“Pneumonia and diarrhea are the major killers of children in the country,” said Dr Senendra Raj Upreti, director general at the Department of Health Services, adding that about 5,000 children die due to the two disease every year.

“The vaccine will also help strengthen the immune system of the children,” Upreti said. According to a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation, 13 percent of the children aged below five die every year due to various illnesses.

Meanwhile, the vaccine is touted as the best vaccine for pneumonia as it not only saves the child from the disease, but also strengthens the immune system to ward off other diseases.

Published: 19-01-2015 09:07

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