Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba initiated the typhoid vaccination campaign amidst a function organised at the Durbar High School, Kathmandu on April 7.
The vaccination campaign is to be rolled out throughout the country from the next day till May 1. The typhoid vaccination programme will also be included in the regular national immunization programme. Under the programme children between the ages of one year, three months to 15 years would be administered the vaccines against typhoid. On the occasion, Prime Minister Deuba expressed the confidence that like in controlling COVID-19 infection, the country will become successful in typhoid control as well.
PM Deuba stated that around 7.5 million children between the age15 months to 15 years would be administered the vaccines against typhoid as part of the campaign. He asked local bodies to work towards producing gas and electricity from waste by setting up waste treatment plants for the long-term solution of the problem related to waste management in the urban areas, including the capital. “Energy has been generated by setting up waste treatment plants in several cities, including Dharan. Vehicles have been run by using this gas generated from these plants”, he added.
The government will also provide the necessary support if the local levels adopt such technology that can be possible through own investment,” PM Deuba suggested. He called for paying attention to waste management as the problem of unmanaged waste will spoil the environment and the beauty of the city as well as increase the risk of several types of infections.
Minister for Health and Population Birodh Khatiwada said Nepal has achieved exemplary success in the whole world in the prevention and control of COVID-19 infection and it was the first country to launch the typhoid vaccination campaign in the whole of South Asia. Stating that so far 16 various types of vaccines have been produced in the world so far and only a few countries have been able to avail many of these vaccines, the Health Minister said Nepal has used 13 types of these vaccines.
Bagmati Province Health Minister Neema Lama expressed commitment to making the typhoid vaccination campaign a success. He said the Bagmati province had attained the first success in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Dr Ramparth Bichha, the health advisor to PM Deuba, expressed his confidence that the vaccine against typhoid brought into use after 10 years of research would be highly effective. Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population Dr Rajesh Kharel said that the anti-typhoid vaccine was free, safe and effective. According to him, it would be provided to children from 15 months to 15 years and appealed to all the sides concerned for their cooperation for the same.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City mayor Bidhya Sundar Shakya informed that around 600 vaccination centres were designated in the Kathmandu district including in schools to make sure no children are deprived of the vaccine. Efforts were also coordinated with the local level and women community health volunteers to make the vaccination campaign a success, according to him.
Nepal is still at high risk of typhoid which is highly contagious. It has been one of the top five reasons for hospitalization in Nepal. The vaccine against typhoid will be provided to children from 15 months to 15 years during this campaign and later will be provided regularly for children of 15 months.
With support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, UNICEF and other partners, the Government of Nepal launched a new vaccine campaign introducing Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) into the routine immunisation programme across the country.
The three-week campaign aims to reach all children between 15 months and 15 years to quickly achieve wider protection from typhoid, increase the impact of the vaccine introduction and combat the rise of antimicrobial resistance. Over 50,000 vaccination sites have been established across rural and urban settings in the country, including schools.
“Congratulations to the Government of Nepal on this milestone; the introduction of the TCV will ensure the lives of thousands of children are protected across the country for years to come, as well as helping to combat the rise of antimicrobial resistance. This is also a great opportunity to leverage this introduction to identify and reach those children being missed by other life-saving vaccines and essential health services,” said Anuradha Gupta, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Children out of school will be identified through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and caregivers will be educated and informed about where to go for routine immunisation through the support of local leadership and health workers. Good hygiene behaviour will also be promoted throughout the campaign to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Nepal is the fourth country supported by Gavi to introduce TCV into its routine immunisation programme. Pakistan, Liberia and Zimbabwe have all introduced the vaccine, with support from Gavi and partners including UNICEF. The Global Burden of Disease study estimated that in 2019, there were at least 82,449 typhoid cases and 919 typhoid deaths in Nepal.