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Pakistan: Countrywide Polio Campaign Vaccinates Around 39 Million Children | UrduPoint.

[Fri 02nd October 2020] Sumaira FH writes:

ISLAMABAD (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 2nd Oct, 2020 ) :Pakistan Polio Eradication Program on Friday said that approximately 39 million children had been vaccinated against poliomyelitis during a nationwide immunization campaign from September 21 to 25 .

The nationwide campaign was implemented by a workforce of almost 270,000 frontline workers who carried out door-to-door vaccination of children under the age of five, said an official of the programme.

He said that this was the first nationwide campaign since February due to a four-month suspension on supplementary immunization activities during the COVID-19 outbreak in Pakistan. He said that the campaign was inaugurated by provincial and district leadership across the country, while the Pakistan armed forces, members of medical associations, prominent religious leaders, celebrities, activists and leadership from across the political spectrum came forward to support the campaign.

Commenting on the results of September campaign, Dr Faisal Sultan, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services said that it was very encouraging to see all Pakistanis, from all walks of life, showing such great support for this national cause.

"With such level of commitment, I am confident that we are going in the right direction. We have to ensure that no child is missed during these nationwide vaccination campaigns in order to protect them against the crippling polio disease." As with smaller campaigns held in July and August, frontline workers were trained on COVID-19 preventive measures, such as hand washing, the proper use of face masks and maintaining a safe distance from others especially children during door-to-door visits.

Moreover, the programme implemented strict measures for its field staff as per the Government of Pakistan's set guidelines on COVID-19 prevention, he added.

Data from campaigns conducted between July to September show that vaccination teams have improved their outreach in each subsequent campaign. This means more children across the country were being administered the polio vaccine and building the necessary immunity against the poliovirus.

"With each campaign we have launched since July, our frontline workers have done an exceptional job at reaching vulnerable children with the polio vaccine. This would not have been possible, however, without the cooperation of concerned parents and caregivers across the country," said Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre of the Pakistan Polio Eradication programme.

"Essential immunization also needs to be strengthened to facilitate the interruption of all poliovirus transmission, and hence, the programme is focused on prioritizing essential immunization as part of the national agenda alongside upcoming door-to-door vaccination campaigns," Dr. Safdar further highlighted.

To do this, the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) has simultaneously been conducting targeted outreach activities to ensure that children are receiving essential immunization.

About 8,150 vaccination teams have been deployed across the country in order to conduct these outreach activities with communities. From January to August, around 13.6 million vaccine doses had been administered to children. Meanwhile, approximately 699,762 zero dose children, or children who had never received routine immunization, had also been identified and vaccinated.

Polio vaccination campaigns will be resumed with a sub-national polio eradication campaign in selective districts in last week of this month.


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Traditional Nutritional and Health Practices Targeting Lifestyle Behavioral Changes in Humans | Journal of Lifestyle Medicine | PubMed Central.

[Open Access] [Published online 2020 Jul 31]

Abstract.

In this 21st century who isn’t enticed by the glamorous and appealing life in the fast lane? We are surrounded by wonders, something we could never have imagined erstwhile. We have everything just a click or a call away. This alluring lifestyle comes with its own perils, the biggest one being concerned with health which is often compromised with check ins and home delivered food but the problem doesn’t just lie with the outside food but also with all those chemical enriched engineered expensive food items. The industry often tempers with our food to make it “More Attractive” to the consumer. However, in modern era, availability of drugs and fancy powders has led to imbalance of health and nutrition, contrary to the previous era when home gardening was very common and people preferred fresh-foods which didn’t contain added chemicals. They even used to treat some of the health problems with the natural ways that we nowadays refer to DIYs (Do-it-yourselves). Since Ayurveda used natural herbs and plant extracts for treatment, the earth was fresher and less-polluted which led to greater life expectancy. The modern era also has its own benefits like excellences in allopathy medicine has brought a cure to many untreatable diseases of the ancient times, and have even eradicated certain diseases like smallpox and polio. To summarize, both the time had their own pros and cons, so it would be better if we take both of their advantages into consideration and work ahead to live a healthy life.


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Timeliness of routine vaccination among children and determinants associated with age-appropriate vaccination in Mongolia | Heliyon.

[Open Access] [Received 4 June 2020, Revised 30 July 2020, Accepted 7 September 2020, Available online 18 September 2020]

Abstract.

Introduction.

Routine vaccination at the recommended age is crucial to minimize the risk of acquiring vaccine preventable diseases. This study aimed to assess the proportion of children receiving routine immunization at the recommended age and determinants of timely (age-appropriate) vaccination in Mongolia.

Material and method.

A total of 879 eligible children aged 12–23 months were included in this study. We investigated age-appropriate administration of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine (BCG); hepatitis B vaccine (Hep B); oral polio vaccine (OPV); pentavalent vaccine; and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) using Kaplan-Meier method. Multilevel logistic regression with random intercept at cluster level was used to assess the determinants of age-appropriate vaccination.

Results.

Overall, the crude vaccination coverage for routine vaccinations were above 90% for all vaccines except MMR1 which was 86.0% (95% CI, 83.6–88.2). While the first dose of almost all the vaccines given at birth; BCG, Hep B, and OPV0, were administered in a timely manner, a substantial proportion of second and third doses of these vaccines were not given in a timely manner with age-appropriate vaccination coverage ranging from 35.9% (32.8–39.1%) for MMR1 to 67.7% (64.5–70.7%) for OPV1 respectively. Factors associated with age-appropriate administration of the investigated vaccines included socio-economic status of household, religion of household heads, area of residence, owning mobile phone, and season of childbirth. For instance, children belonging to households from richer wealth quintile had higher possibilities of getting age-appropriate OPV1-OPV3, PE1-PE3 and MMR1 vaccines compared to those from the poorest household wealth quintile.

Conclusion.

Our findings suggest that the commonly used indicator ‘crude vaccination coverage’ could be supplemented by ‘age-appropriate vaccination’ to help to identify gaps in timely vaccinations and stimulate interventions in Mongolia. Factors such as household wealth quintile, place of residence and religion associated with timely vaccination in our study could be considered to promote effective intervention aiming to improve adequate vaccination coverage.


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Sierra Leone reversing immunization decline in wake of COVID-19 | ReliefWeb.

[News and Press Release] [Source: WHO] [Posted: 1 Oct 2020] [Originally Published: 1 Oct 2020] [Origin: View original]

Freetown, 1 October 2020 - Although the first case of COVID-19 didn’t emerge until late in March in Sierra Leone, by late April, immunization rates and the use of child health care services had worryingly declined by about 19%.

Mothers like Hawa Dumbuya feared making visits to a health facility, because they were concerned that with COVID-19 circulating by doing so they would put themselves and their children in harm’s way.

“I was afraid that going to the health facility would expose us to coronavirus,” Dumbuya admits.

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation moved quickly to stem the growing anxieties and reverse the avoidance of critical child health care services.

Working with district communications unit staff and in collaboration with UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry ramped up public health messaging through radio stations. The informative announcements, played nationwide, urged mothers and caregivers to continue taking their children to health centres for the routine immunizations.

These messages gave parents like Dambuya reassurance to take her baby, born in May, to her local health facility and to check on her own health. “Coming for delivery was a difficult decision because of the fear of COVID-19, but it was good that I was brought here,” says Dambuya.

“As we learned more about the disease and how to stay safe, it gave me courage to continue to seek health services while using a mask and other preventive measures,” she says. “I came for vaccine for my child, and she was vaccinated. We mothers were reminded to sit apart and to use our mask properly. And the nurses were also fully masked up. So that was reassuring.”

The Ministry also ensured that vaccines were available at the district level with no depletion, which would have discouraged health facility attendance by parents and caregivers. The Ministry aggressively safeguarded supplies to guarantee that all immunizations would be available for anyone seeking them.

“First of all, we made sure there was a sufficient stock of vaccines in the country. Then we monitored the distribution to public health facilities. We also monitored service utilization by collecting and analysing data and providing feedback to the districts on their performance,” explains Dr Tom Sesay, Manager of the Ministry’s Expanded Programme on Immunization.

COVID-19 has imposed challenges to maintaining immunization and child health care services. The WHO Sierra Leone country office has escalated its technical assistance, with all immunization staff deployed to the field to help integrate immunization activities into the COVID-19 response, particularly at health facilities.

To raise awareness of the need for continuity of immunization and essential child health care services, WHO also deployed integrated supportive supervision teams and STOP polio consultants, to draw on their years of community outreach experience and knowledge.

Dr Thompson Igbu, who heads the WHO Sierra Leone Expanded Programme on Immunization team, emphasizes the importance of this continuity: “One of the most cost-effective public health interventions is vaccination because it protects a lot of children. In Sierra Leone, we have 12 antigens in the routine immunization system. Providing this service regularly to every eligible child means we are able to prevent illnesses that would have otherwise occurred if those children were not protected.”

The quick antidote to the heightened anxieties and disruptions to the routine immunization regimen among the general public is paying off. The rates of immunization are beginning to return to the pre-COVID-19 levels of 90% for the third dose of pentavalent vaccine, which is administered at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks of age. The pentavalent vaccine gives protection against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib).

The next step is to offer families catch-up vaccination campaigns, complete with all infection prevention and control measures – physical distancing, face masks, hand hygiene.

Dr Igbu, like every public health professional, knows only too well how even the smallest interruption to the routine immunization of children can have widespread negative impact for families and communities. “A sick child is unable to attend school or play actively, and the caregiver has to take time from work to care for the child’s health and buy medicines,” he says. “This contributes to increasing household expenditures and reduces the family funds that would be available for other things. Disease outbreaks can occur easily. Going unchecked, it will have a lot of negative impacts on society.”


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