KARACHI: The government is thinking of passing a law that would allow only children who have completed their polio and hepatitis vaccinations to get admitted into schools.
Under this law, vaccination certificates would be verified before confirming admissions, said Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Thursday at a meeting with the health department on the ‘CM Initiative for a Hepatitis-Free Sindh’.
A draft has also been prepared by the health department for a bill on regularising private hospitals and it would be passed soon, said Shah.
The chief minister underlined the need to create awareness among people about the causes and remedial measures for hepatitis B and C. “We need to organise more rallies, symposiums and seminars,” he added.
Keeping in mind the rising number of hepatitis cases in Sindh, Shah agreed to extend the hepatitis-free programme for another three years so that more areas can be covered and people in remote regions can be provided with the necessary facilities of screening, vaccination and treatment. He said that a similar programme was also initiated by the Prime Minister’s secretariat, however the project could not be implemented because no funds were released. The health department should ask the federal government for money so that the project could start.
Earlier, Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed and Health Secretary Syed Hashim Raza Zaidi highlighted the progress made by the hepatitis programme and other projects initiated by the department.
Programme manager of the hepatitis project Dr Abdul Majeed Chutto informed that the government launched the programme in 2008-09 at a cost of Rs2.9 billion. He said that the goals were to prevent acute infections, address chronic infections, raise awareness, effect policy making and strengthen the health system.
According to data on vaccination against hepatitis B, 1.1 million individuals were vaccinated. These included 775,000 newborns and 18,439 inmates.
Four molecular biology laboratories have also been established at Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana and Mirpurkhas. Moreover, 80,000 patients have been treated for hepatitis C and 500 for hepatitis D.
Dr Chutto said that during the flood, 23 camps were established in 13 affected districts and around 94,000 people were vaccinated in these camps.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2011.
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