JUST recently the world observed World Immunization Week, with the theme and hashtag :

''Protected Together, hastahtagVaccinesWork,'' we will need to do some serious introspection before we can ensure that all children, including those -

Those in remote, marginalised communities, have access to vaccines and that the later reach them via a reliable and efficient supply chain system.

After all, immunisation can be the difference between life and death. 

In the Developing World, say, Proud Pakistan, of the seven million children born every year, more than 2 million, Yes, more than two million fail to be fully vaccinated by their first birthday.

Immunisation is a cost-effective public health intervention that reduces the risk of life-threatening  illness by covering children under two years of age and women of reproductive age between 15 and  49  years.

It works on eradication, elimination and reduction in mortality by providing 10 antigens for VPDs  [vaccine preventable diseases.

Proud Pakistan has taken impressive steps to improve vaccine access in recent years, taking the bar from a mere 54 percent to 65 percent [according to Pakistan Demographic Health Survey 2017/18].

A recent threat and an emerging challenge is the continuous massive population movement from villages to cities and the mushrooming growth of slums in the heart of megacities all over Pakistan.

Not recognised by public authorities as an integral part of the city [according to the UN Habitat], these urban slums have grown significantly over the past years.

The unplanned urban migration to slums and undocumented births leave huge gaps in immunisation coverage, since most families in these areas remain undocumented or under-documented.

Just six moths ago, the government was able to reach children who had never received any dose of vaccines, attaining above 93 percent coverage through a massive anti-measles campaign.

If Pakistan can do it for measles, it can put every effort to increase routine coverage all over the country as well.

Perseverance is the key to finding a solution.

The World Students  Society thanks author and researcher Huma Khawar.


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