Pediatricians Highlight Typhoid Pandemic in Asia

– Experts Call for Expanded Immunization Efforts

KUCHING, Malaysia, Sept. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/Asianet-Pakistan — The Coalition against Typhoid (CaT) called on policymakers and ministries of health across Asia to make typhoid vaccination a priority in their countries at the 14th Asia Pacific Congress of Pediatrics. CaT, an initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, brought together leading pediatricians from across Asia to discuss the hyper-endemic burden of typhoid in the region and offer solutions to combat this growing epidemic.

“Pediatric associations and others across the region recognize typhoid’s serious impact, particularly the rising and widespread threat of drug resistant typhoid. Many–including India and Indonesia–have made recommendations supporting the use of typhoid vaccines,” said Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Founding Chair, Women and Child Health Division, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. “National stakeholders and policymakers should review the evidence and discuss the adoption of typhoid vaccines.”

Despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to prioritize typhoid vaccines for “immediate” implementation at a 2009 WHO meeting, many countries in Asia have yet to recommend or introduce typhoid vaccines.

“Since 1997, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health has used typhoid vaccination to effectively control disease in high risk districts,” said Dr. Nguyen Van Cuong, Deputy Head of Vietnam’s National Immunization Program. “Successful programs have also been implemented in China and Thailand.”

According to the WHO, typhoid impacts an estimated 21 million people and causes more than 200,000 deaths annually, predominantly among preschool and school-age children in developing countries of Asia and Africa. WHO reports that 90 percent of typhoid deaths occur in Asia.

“WHO approved typhoid vaccines are available now, yet these tools are not yet fully embraced by ministries of health across Asia,” said Dr. Christopher Nelson, Director of the Coalition against Typhoid Secretariat at Sabin. “Pediatric associations and other stakeholders should review the evidence and discuss the implementation of typhoid vaccines.”

Typhoid is widespread in poverty-stricken communities without access to safe water and basic sanitation and spreads through contaminated water and food. In addition to the high number of deaths, typhoid infection impacts school attendance and achievement and limits workforce participation and productivity.

“In Bangladesh, typhoid is a leading cause of hospital admission among children, adolescents, and young adults with fever-like symptoms,” said Dr. Mesbah Uddin Ahmed, Immediate past Secretary General Bangladesh Paediatric Association (BPA), Secretary of the Immunization sub Committee BPA, and Head of the Dept. of Child Health, Gonosasthyo Samaj Vittick Medical College, Savar, Dhaka.

In their discussions and presentations, these pediatricians emphasized the need for improved surveillance and control programs throughout the region, noting that in order to have the greatest impact, typhoid vaccination efforts must be implemented in conjunction with other public health programs, such as access to safe drinking water and the promotion of good hygiene practices, including hand washing.

To learn more about the typhoid burden in Asia and to view a full list of speakers from today’s event, visit http://coalitionagainsttyphoid.org/.

About The Coalition against Typhoid (CaT)
The Coalition against Typhoid (CaT) is a global forum of scientists and immunization experts working to save lives and reduce suffering by advancing typhoid vaccination in high burden communities who is one amongst other leading alliances. By prioritizing typhoid on the global health agenda and developing a comprehensive work plan to combat this disease, the Coalition against Typhoid eagerly anticipates expanding access to these life-saving vaccines. Learn more about CaT at http://www.coalitionagainsttyphoid.org/

About The Sabin Vaccine Institute
Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers, and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering caused by vaccine preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Sabin works with governments, leading public and private organizations, and academic institutions to provide solutions for some of the world’s most pervasive health challenges. Since its founding in 1993 in honor of the oral polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to control, treat, and eliminate these diseases by developing new vaccines, advocating use of existing vaccines, and promoting increased access to affordable medical treatments. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.

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