NIH Pakistan resumes vaccine production for measles after 7 years – Research Snipers

NIH Pakistan resumes vaccine production for measles after 7 years

NIH measles

After discovering a growing incidence of the disease in the country the government is mulling to resume vaccine production for measles which was stopped 7 years before.

After several polio cases identified in the country earlier the government, started rigorous polio campaign this month, the government is now focusing on eradicating the measles disease across the country because of it critical importance.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has started production of measles vaccine now, the president of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi said it after his visit to NIH. The Federal Health Minister Amir Mehmood Kiani said NIH is the national asset with huge potential and it is contributing towards sustainable development.

The Federal Minister said millions of doses have already been prepared and further two million doses would be prepared by June, 2019. According to Professor Dr. Amir Ikram, Executive Director of NIH, the federal government has approved Rs751 million for the production of vaccines and serums within the country.

He said, “They are currently producing 40,000 vials of snake anti-venom per annum, which is a fifth of the country’s requirement,” he also said that the institute expects to meet roughly half of the country’s total anti-venom demand by June, 2019.

The institute has also started the production of other vaccines including measles, diphtheria and, tetanus, he added.

The Executive director of NIH has also mentioned the problems and constraints they face currently in lab facilities; the institute currently does not have the facilities that meet international standards.

The first initiative at NIH was BSL-3 laboratory which meets global standards, he added. He also said we are not able to export vaccines unless we have state-of-the-art laboratory system and facilities that meet international standards and, implement best manufacturing practices.

However, we are chalking out policies in this regard which will enable Pakistan to export vaccines, the policy will be announced soon, he added. The NIH director said, “They are preparing for the implementation of a five-year-roadmap of international health regulations and the global health security agenda along with the implementation of integrated disease surveillance and response system in the country.” The Institute has also drafted a public health act, apart from national laboratory policy, case definition book, national biosafety, and bio-prism.

President Alvi said health is one of the top priorities of the current government, we are committed to initiate reforms in all health departments to make them more efficient, the services we shall provide has to be equitable, accessible and affordable.

He advised NIH to improve its facilities in order to meet international standards and work hard towards enhancing the quality of healthcare services in Pakistan.