34,000 vaccinated under public, private partnership in two districts

Karachi: Chief Secretary Sindh Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry on Monday said vaccination of more than 34,000 people for Hepatitis B in Khairpur and Sukkur districts under public, private and social sector partnership was a milestone.

He expressed these views at a one-day workshop on “Hepatitis ABB BUS now stop”, jointly organized by Provincial Ministry of Health Sindh and OMV Pakistan Exploration in at local hotel.

The workshop gathered local and international experts of health disciplines on a single platform to address critical issues related to Hepatitis B & C in Sindh province.

Secretary Health Sindh Inamullah Dharejo and General Manager OMV Peter Seitinger and Tahir Janjua also spoke.

The project was initiated by OMV, a leading oil and gas exploring and production company, with the support of Austrian Development Agency ADA was later joined by District Governments of Sukkur and Khairpur and Chief Minister Hepatitis Control Program that lead to a successful joint venture between the public, private and social sector.

Ejaz Chaudhry emphasized that all segments of society should work together with government to eradicate diseases like Hepatitis from the country. He said such large number of vaccination of people could not be possible until getting proper support and coordination of local community. He applauded the role community and organizers of workshop for organizing the event.

Secretary Health Sindh Inamullah Dharejo said seven percent of population is suffering from Hepatitis in Sindh. He informed that around three percent of the population is a Hepatitis B carrier and four percent carrier of Hepatitis C. He said most of Hepatitis cases were reported in Khairpur and Sukkur district.

He said no law was introduced against reuse of syringes in past which spread Hepatitis. He vowed that that a law would be made in this regard in order to control further prevalence of disease in province. He said provincial government is aware about the rising number of quacks in Sindh and strict action would be taken soon against them.

GM OMV Peter Seitinger informed the workshop participants that the Hepatitis Prophylaxis & Capacity Building Project was launched by OMV Pakistan in areas where OMV was operating. Initiated in 2006, the campaign successfully completed its first phase in 2009, raising awareness about the disease in the rural communities by screening and vaccinating over 9,574 women and children with Hepatitis vaccine. During the second phase more than 24,000 men, women and children were vaccinated against Hepatitis B.

He said this project sets an example for those who wish to work with the district governments and make a difference on the ground level in substantial terms. He informed that the project has successfully administered vaccination to 11,161 primary school children as well.

He said objective of launching this project was to provide better healthcare to people located in the target areas, provide awareness to the general population about the severity of viral hepatitis and to take preventive measures that help build the capacity of the local district health departments, Local NGOs, civil society, community representatives, health professionals. He said project achieved 84 percent success rate.

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