LAHORE, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 10th Nov, 2016 ) : Director General Health Services (DGHS) Punjab, Dr Mukhtar Hussain Syed, said on Thursday here that all-out efforts were being made to reduce child mortality caused by pneumonia. Speaking at the World Pneumonia Day briefing at the Committee Room of the Directorate General Health Services, he highlighted some of the steps taken by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department to protect, prevent and treat pneumonia in the province.
The World Pneumonia Day is commemorated on Nov 12 around the globe to raise awareness about the toll of pneumonia. Director Expanded Program on Immunisation Dr Munir Ahmed, Health Specialist UNICEF Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Rana, Pakistan Paediatrics Association representative and experts from WHO and EPI Program were also present in the briefing. In Pakistan, pneumonia remains one of major killers. Whereas globally Pneumonia accounts for 15 per cent of all deaths of children under 5 years age, in Pakistan it is estimated that 29 percent of children died due to this disease.
Pneumonia can be prevented by immunization, adequate nutrition, and by addressing environmental factors. He said a child survival group of technical experts in the Directorate General Health Services was formed to chalk out workable strategy. "In Punjab a new initiative to provide medical commodities for children suffering with Pneumonia and Diarrhoea has been initiated in the year 2016. The plan is being pilot tested in 5 districts with support from UNICEF,Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation," he added.
The Punjab Expanded Program on Immunization has introduced pneumonia vaccine as part of routine immunization in 2012. Director EPI Dr Munir Ahmed said Punjab was able to increase routine immunization progress from 64 to 86 percent as per "Neilsen Survey". By effective use of technology, the vaccinator attendance has also improved. UNICEF Health Specialist Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Rana said that the recommendations of the Global Action Plan were being implemented through a project initially piloted in five districts.
In order to facilitate the provision of anti-biotics, dispersible tablets are being introduced in place of syrup. The WHO and UNICEF have developed an integrated Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD) that aims to accelerate pneumonia control with a combination of interventions to protect, prevent, and treat pneumonia in children. The GAPPD was signed by Pakistan in 2013, he added.