11 June 2013
Pneumococcal disease is a little-known ailment that affects children and can lead to death and permanent disability.
The “YES to PnD Protection” campaign hopes to make pneumococcal vaccine available to all Malaysian children.
“It is important for parents to be aware of the impact of the disease and to realise the need to vaccinate their children against it.
“We hope that with the campaign, parents will be able to speak to their doctors and take the necessary steps to call for the protection of all Malaysian children against this disease,” said Myhealth Outreach founder and parenting2u.com co-founder Chan Li Jin.
The campaign is aimed at raising awareness on the disease and urging the Malaysian government to put pneumococcal vaccination into the National Immunisation Programme.
Each participating doctor will pass the ‘YES to PnD Protection’ pledge card to parents who visit their clinics and engage them in a discussion on the importance of pneumococcal vaccination.
The parents will then be requested to fill in one side of the pledge card and place it into a pledge box which will be available at the clinic.
The remaining section of the pledge card is to be kept by the parents as a form of reference of their child’s vaccination calendar.
The campaign will run for six months until September after which the pledges will be collected and tabulated before being sent to the Health Ministry.
Pneumococcal disease is a complex group of illnesses caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumonia.
This bacterium causes invasive infections which include bacteraemia/sepsis (bacterial infections of the blood), meningitis (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord or brain), pneumonia (lung inflammation) and otitis media (media ear infection).
The World Health Organisation has estimated that pneumococcal disease kills nearly one million children younger than five years of age every year.
Globally, annual pneumococcal disease incidence is estimated at 14.5 million episodes of serious pneumococcal disease in children younger than five years of age.
In April, the United Nations launched a plan to eradicate childhood deaths from pneumonia by 2025. Despite continuous recommendations from the WHO and other advisory bodies, and the inclusion of pneumococcal vaccine into the National Immunisation Programme of many countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Morocco, the pneumococcal vaccine continues to remain optional in Malaysia.
The ‘YES to PnD Protection’ is an initiative by Confederation of Meninigitis Organisations member parenting2u together with the Asian Strategic Alliance for Pneumococcal disease prevention and Malaysian Paediatric Association.