4 December 2019 – A historical milestone has been successfully achieved in Pakistan with the vaccination in Sindh Province of more than 9.4 million children aged from 9 months to 15 years against typhoid fever, with a coverage rate of 95%. Pakistan is the first country in the world to introduce the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) into its routine immunization programme. This measure will contribute to the control of the extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid fever outbreak in the province, where more than 11,000 cases have been reported since November 2016.
More than 8,000 skilled vaccinators and health workers, along with 20,000 social mobilisers and more than 2000 supervisors and monitors, including international monitors, participated in the campaign from 18 to 30 November 2019.
The dedication of frontline workers and strong commitment from the Federal and Sindh governments underpinned the success of the campaign and the introduction of TCV into the routine immunization schedule. There was effective coordination between different ministries and departments, in particular with the education department to ensure the vaccination of students at more than 18,000 government and private schools and madrasas. The Pakistan Pediatric Association and universities also played a crucial role in mobilizing the community to vaccinate their children.
Many innovative initiatives were undertaken during the campaign, including the use of technology to collect coverage data through the mobile application KOBO Collect. Real time monitoring data was also obtained this way from supervisors using a monitoring checklist and a daily survey of 10 households by every monitor. Around 39,000 checklists were collected and analysed, with daily feedback to the frontline level.
The operational and vaccine costs of the campaign were provided by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, with WHO and UNICEF acting as the main partners providing technical support on the ground.