WHO praises region of Pakistan for meeting vaccination goals

The World Health Organization and UNICEF recently praised the efforts of the Punjab Health Department in Pakistan for providing the measles vaccine to 95 percent of the targeted children in Lahore.

The health department launched the seven-day campaign in the provincial capital on April 30 and later extended the campaign for two additional days. The vaccination teams reached 2.6 million children over the course of the nine days, Dawn.com reports.

Officials said the coverage rate was one of the highest observed in the area in the last few years.

WHO and UNICEF officials shared the results of the vaccination campaign during a meeting last week in Pakistan. Attendees of the meeting included Salima Hashmi, the Punjab region's caretaker health minister, Arif Nadeem, the region's health secretary, Nasir Abidi, a WHO representative, Mushtaq Rana, a UNICEF representative, Aslam Chaudhry, a Gates Foundation representative, Tanvir Ahmed, the region's health director-general, and Tariq Bhutta, an immunization consultant.

Officials said the health department would follow the success of the campaign with a similar anti-measles campaign in the rest of the districts of Punjab. The drive will be launched in 11 high-risk districts of the province in June. The campaign will cost more than $24 million and will reach an estimated 11.347 million children between the ages of six months to 10 years old.