Immunization and surveillance gaps pose risks:WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that goals to eliminate measles and reduce hepatitis B infections by 2012 and maintaining a polio-free status are at risk due to the immunization and surveillance gaps in the Western Pacific region.

This warning comes despite the regions substantial progress in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases. WHO adds that some member states within the region continue to have inadequate coverage of routine or supplementary immunizations to eliminate these diseases.

Dr. Shin Young-soo WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific told a meeting of WHO Regional Committee members that countries need to make available additional human and financial resources to fully implement the established strategies against vaccines-preventable diseases.

Dr. Shin added that preventing the potential spread of imported wild poliovirus by reducing immunization and surveillance gaps in countries is far more cost effective than bringing a polio outbreak under control.

Statistics show that the annual number of measles deaths within the Western Pacific region is currently less than 2000a and an estimated 27 countries and area, comprising 88% of the region’s population are likely to achieve the interim milestone of reducing chronic hepatitis B infection to less than 2% among 5 year old children in 2012.

By Repeka Nasiko 

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