Dr. Jamal Nasir seeks support of academia, Ulema for vaccination


Punjab’s Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Dr. Jamal Nasir appealed to academia, religious scholars and tribal and social notables to provide unequivocal support for vaccination as a basic life-saving intervention in the Provincial Advocacy Seminar organized here on Friday to commemorate the World Immunization Week 2023 at a local hotel.

World Immunization Week is commemorated the world over from 24th to 30th April. The Seminar was supported by UNICEF.

Present in the Seminar were the Director of General Health Services Punjab Dr. Ilyas Gondal, Additional Secretary of Vertical Programs Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Mr Sanaullah, UNICEF Health Specialist Dr. Tahir Manzoor, Head of Office WHO Punjab Dr Jamshaid Ahmed, President Ulema Council of Pakistan Mufti Muhammad Naeem Ahmed Noori, Traders Union Punjab representative Mr. Shahzad, Pakistan Pediatric Association representative Dr. Idris Malik, Pakistan Medical Association representative Dr. Shahid Malik, President Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians Dr. Tariq Mian, Program Directors (Health), Rotary International representatives, media personnel and healthcare workers.

Dr. Nasir Jamal said that role of vaccines is pivotal in preventing and controlling outbreaks across the world. Without vaccines, he said, our world would be hugely vulnerable to epidemics and outbreaks. He said that since the advent of vaccines two centuries back, hundreds of millions of lives have been saved. He said, “The World Immunization Week” gives an opportunity to create awareness about the phenomenal impact of vaccines in saving human lives. Vaccines are the most cost effective Public Health Intervention ever introduced in human history. Government of the Punjab provides vaccines for 12 fatal diseases worth billions of rupees to people every year totally free of cost. These vaccines are administered by Skilled Immunization Staff through fixed and outreach sites. Punjab’s full immunization coverage is 90% as per last survey but our next challenge is to reach the remaining 10 per cent.”

Director General Health Services Punjab Dr. Ilyas Gondal said vaccine is public good and it is extremely important to create awareness among all sections of the society. Director EPI Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said that the theme of this year is ‘The Big Catch up.’ He said in consonance with the theme, Punjab is carrying out the Integrated Outreach Activity with WHO support which provided an excellent catch-up vaccination opportunity to cover Zero Dose Children/Communities & Defaulters, Higher age group children till 5 years missing vaccination, ensure Covid-19 Vaccination and administer OPV to Still Missed Children.

UNICEF Representative Dr. Tahir Manzoor said that benefits of vaccines must reach the rich and poor alike and UNICEF-supported awareness activities were focused on reaching out to the marginalized communities. Head of Office, WHO Sub Office Punjab Dr. Jamshaid Ahmed said that Demand Generation and Service Delivery were contributory and compulsory. He assured that the WHO would continue to support Govt. of the Punjab in key areas.