Health Ministry to launch diphtheria vaccination

The Health Ministry is set to launch a diphtheria vaccination program in 19 regencies and municipalities in East Java next month.

The ministryÔÇÖs director of epidemiology and immunization, Andi Muhadir, said that East Java was chosen as the area of focus as parts of the province were especially vulnerable to the infectious throat disease.

Populations in East Java remain susceptible to diphtheria because of the low coverage rate of vaccinations, particularly for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus among infants and adolescents, Andi told reporters.

Between Nov. 12 and Nov. 24, the ministry plans to vaccinate 5 million infants, children and adolescents in 19 regencies and municipalities including Bangkalan, Banyuwangi, Bondowoso, Jember, Jombang, Madiun, Mojokerto, Pasuruan and Probolinggo.

Diphtheria, an acute toxic infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria, remains a serious health problems in the country.

According to national surveillance data, 83 percent of total diphtheria incidents in the country occurred in East Java last year.

The East Java Health Agency recorded a diphtheria outbreak it categorized as an extraordinary event on Oct. 11, 2011. It infected 684 people and killed 20, according to data from the ministry.

So far, only 375 diphtheria patients have received vaccinations. Despite the health agencyÔÇÖs efforts to contain the outbreak, the disease spread and sickened not only infants but also adolescents aged up to 15 years old. As of the end of September, 661 people in East Java had been infected with diphtheria, with 28 fatalities recorded.

This is why itÔÇÖs important to deliver additional diphtheria immunizations in the province with wider coverage, both in terms of the number and age scope of the recipients, said Andi.

In 2011, the Health Ministry launched a diphtheria vaccination campaign aiming to curb the infectious disease in 11 regions, including Bangkalan, Banyuwangi, Blitar, Gresik, Mojokerto, Pamekasan, Pasuruan, Sampang, Sidoarjo, Sumenep and Surabaya.

Julitasari Sundoro, the National Commission for Postimmunization Effects (Komnas KIPI), said the commission had written guidelines for local health workers to anticipate any adverse impacts or side effects of vaccination.

To anticipate any adverse side effects from immunization, we have conducted surveillance to monitor the quality of vaccine products, including DPTHepatitis B, DT and Td vaccines, which we will use in the vaccination campaign, she said.

Komnas KIPI will also set up a workshop to train pediatricians, general physicians, midwives and other health workers on how to deliver the vaccines properly.

All vaccines to be used during the campaign were produced by stateowned pharmaceutical company PT Biofarma.

source : http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/10/22/healthministrylaunchdiphtheriavaccination.html

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