September 23, 2013

Provided by Pakistan Observer

Amanullah Khan

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - Karachi—As a result of public, private and social sector partnership, more than 34 thousand men, women and children were vaccinated against Hepatitis B in Khairpur and Sukkur districts. In Sindh around 3% of the population is a Hepatitis B carrier and 4% is a carrier of Hepatitis C and at 6.3%, District Khairpur has the highest Hepatitis B prevalence in Sindh. These views and statistics were shared during a one-day workshop jointly organized by Provincial Ministry of Health, Sindh and OMV Pakistan (Exploration) in Karachi on Monday with the title “Hepatitis ABB BUS (now stop)”. Chief Secretary Sindh Ejaz Chaudhry, Secratery Health Sindh Inamullah Dharejo and General Manager OMV Peter Seitinger spoke on the occasion.

The benefits of public, private and social sector joint efforts were obtained through the immunization of more than 34,000 persons within a budget of 250,000 Euros only. The project initiated by OMV, a leading oil and gas exploring and production company with the support of Austrian Development Agency (ADA) was later joined by District Governments of Sukkur and Khairpur and Chief Minister Hepatitis Control Program that lead to a successful joint venture between the public, private and social sector. OMV being Oil & Gas company & present in upper Sindh has undertaken many projects under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) umbrella for the betterment of neighboring communities. Initiatives have brought up access of children to 75 primary schools, several health units, water provision to communities and many more. Hepatitis-B Prophylaxis Project is one of the projects, undertaken over & above the funds of Social Welfare Obligation.

The project was implemented in two phases, phase 1 from year 2006-2009 and phase II 2009-2013. During each phase three (3) rounds of medical camps for villages, schools and dispensaries were organized and a total of 1,185 camps were conducted for community awareness, screening and vaccination.

Speakers in the workshop informed that the objective of launching this project was to provide better health care for the people located in the target areas, provide awareness to the general population about the severity of viral hepatitis and to take preventive measures that help build the capacity of the local district health departments, Local NGOs, civil society, community representatives, health professionals and project staff from OMV. All stated objectives were not only achieved but also surpassed the immunization target by 42% as project was initiated with aim of vaccinating only 9,000 in first phase & 15,000 persons in second phase that resulted in vaccinating more than 34,000 in both districts. The project team engaged local District Health Departments in conducting Medical camps and Awareness seminars in target area.

He informed that vaccination for adults should not be administered without initial screening, during the project a total of 34,312 personnel were screened for HEP-B, out of which 1,713 were diagnosed with being infected. However, he informed that the number of people benefiting from the vaccination was almost double the amount compared to school going children who do not require screening. One of the most remarkable achievements during the project was the minimal drop-out ratio of participants throughout phase 1- 2 & extension. The project was able to retain the drop out ratio at quite a reasonable level, as the project achieved 84% success rate.

GM OMV Peter Seitinger informed the workshop participants that the Hepatitis Prophylaxis & Capacity Building Project was launched by OMV Pakistan in areas where OMV was operating.

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