Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Child pneumonia vaccine introduced in PNG

A new vaccine will be introduced for children as part of the national immunisation program to combat pneumonia. 
Pneumonia is a top killer of children under the age of five in PNG.
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or PCV-13, protects against pneumococcal disease which can cause pneumonia. Pneumococcus disease is an infection caused by bacteria commonly found in the nose and throat.
These bacteria can spread to different parts of the body and cause a variety of diseases such as pneumonia or meningitis. Less severe but more common diseases occur when the disease spreads to the ears, sinuses or bronchii causing ear infections, sinusitis and bronchitis. 
The vaccine will be launched today (Tuesday) in Gaire village, Central Province by officials from the health department and stakeholders. 
The recommended schedule of vaccination is given at one, two and three months of age for all children in the country to protect them from disease.
The Health Department and UNICEF state that each year one child in every 13 born in PNG dies before the age of five, a rate far greater than in any other country of the Pacific Region. 
Pneumonia is the most common cause of serious illness and death in children in PNG, accounting for 30-40 per cent of hospitalszations and deaths. The vaccine will reduce illnesses and deaths and increase the chances of survival for PNG children.
The World Health Organisation estimates that in 2008 pneumonia accounted for 22 per cent of deaths and meningitis accounted for five per cent in under 5s in PNG. A WHO report states that hospitalisation and health facility costs for the 240,000 affected children who sought treatment in 2008 for pneumonia is a huge monetary burden to the family and to the government health service. These vaccines should alleviate some of the burden.

Post Courier