Written By: Majid al-Kibsi
Article Date: Jan 22, 2011 - 10:51:18 PM
The Ministry of Health and Population has introduced the new pneumococcal vaccine in a meeting with the media at the ministry on Wednesday January 19th. Pneumococcal vaccines kill the bacteria found in the respiratory tract that cause pneumonia as well as other infections.
Yemen has received the pneumococcal vaccine from The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) as the first country in the region to receive as aid.
According to Majid al-Junaid, Deputy Minister of Health and population, this vaccine has already been used in gulf countries and Yemen is the seventh country to use it. “The vaccine is being used in neighboring gulf countries. Yemen is now the seventh country in the region to use it. This vaccine is sponsored by GAVI and therefore it will be found for free in any medical facility.”
Dr. Ghulam R. Popal, WHO representative in Yemen complemented the cooperation between the ministries of health and information. “This partnership is very good example in the entire region. I want to thank you so much for this example,” he added, “Today is a milestone event in the history of the public health of Yemen.
Yemen is one of the first countries in the region that, with the help of GAVI, introduced the pneumococcal vaccine.”
Popal added that over 1.6 million people die from the pneumococcal diseases all over the world, 800 thousand are children under five years old. This mortality rate is higher in the poor countries.
The expert of the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Mohammed Osama Mare’i introduced the vaccine to the audience and gave them a detailed explanation about the size of the problem with the pneumococcal diseases.
According to the WHO, infections caused by pneumococci are a major cause of morbidity and mortality all over the world. Pneumonia, febrile bacteraemia, and meningitis are the most common manifestations of invasive pneumococcal disease, whereas bacterial spread within the respiratory tract may result in middle-ear infection, sinusitis or recurrent bronchitis. Compared with invasive disease, the non-invasive manifestations are usually less severe, but considerably more common. Thus, in the United States alone, 7 million cases of otitis media are attributed to pneumococci each year.
Although all age groups may be affected, the highest rate of pneumococcal disease occurs in young children and in the elderly population. In addition, persons suffering from a wide range of chronic conditions and immune deficiencies are at increased risk. In developing countries infants under three months of age are at particularly high risk, especially for pneumococcal meningitis.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, is a bacterium which causes serious disease often life-threatening, illnesses in young children. Pnemococcus can cause meningitis and severe pneumonia, leading to an estimated 14.5 million cases of serious illness and 735,000 deaths each year in HIV negative children under five years of age.
Mare’i assured that implementing the vaccination with the pneumococcal vaccine will decrease fatality rate among children under 5 years old drastically. “This vaccine will help achieving the fourth goal of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). It will decrease fatality by two thirds by 2015,”
Ministry of information, Hasan Ahmed al-Lozy has attended this meeting and encouraged the journalists to support the Ministry of Health and Population in implementing this vaccine.
Dr. Ghadah Shawqi al-Haboob, explained more about the vaccine, she assured that it is safe to give this vaccine to the infant during the first six weeks. “This vaccine can be take simultaneously with the pentavalent vaccine. It is given in the first six, ten and fourteen weeks,”
According to al-Haboob, Individuals who have had a previous allergic reaction to the pneumococcal vaccine should avoid vaccination. The vaccine should also be avoided during radiation therapy or chemotherapy or when the infant have a temperature over 39 degrees,” she added that there might be some side effects of the vaccine such as slight fever that may last for two days.
Al-Habbob mentioned the people who should be getting this vaccine, which included all adults age 65 years or older, Anyone age two years or older who has a long-term health problem such as cardiovascular disease, sickle cell anemia, alcoholism, lung disease, diabetes, cirrhosis, or leaks of cerebrospinal fluid, Anyone who has or is getting a cochlear implant, Anyone age two years or older who has a disease or condition that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as Hodgkin’s disease, kidney failure, nephrotic syndrome, lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, HIV infection or AIDS, damaged spleen or no spleen, or organ transplant. In addition to anyone age two years or older who is taking any drug or treatment that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as long-term steroids, certain cancer drugs, or radiation therapy, adults ages 19–64 who have asthma, adults ages 19–64 who smoke cigarettes, In special situations.
• Yemen seizes military materiel
• Yemen: Democracy School certified as division of Defense for Children International
• Yemen’s army shells tribal areas after pipeline sabotage
• Sawa’a organization calls for Jewish involvement in Yemen’s National Dialogue
• US aircraft carrying soldiers, equipment lands in Yemen