Importance of immunisation cited

National 2 minutes, 35 seconds


IMMUNISATION is not only important to prevent diseases from afflicting the population but is also a cost-effective health intervention, the director-general of Health Services at the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday said in his speech in observance of the World Immunisation Week.

This year’s theme “Vaccination is Everyone’s Job, Protect Your Community” is an opportunity to promote the importance of immunisation to all levels of society, said Pg Dr Hj Md Khalifah Pg Hg Ismail, who launched the event together with a training workshop.

“The immunisation programme can provide benefits and protection to the entire population, including children, the elderly, patients with chronic diseases, those who are exposed to high risks such as health professionals, firefighters, police and the general public,” he said.

Especially for the children, he said that vaccines are given to them not only to protect their generation but also the future generation.

In his speech, Pg Dr Hj Md Khalifah revealed that the health ministry has organised a national immunisation programme for children aged from zero to five years since the 1950s, which has been successful in preventing ten infectious diseases, including polio and tetanus.

Pg Dr Hj Md Khalifah added that MoH has implemented the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) programme back in 2012, which aims to combat HPV virus that can lead to cervical cancer.

“In our country, cervical cancer is found to be the second highest cancer among women. Statistics have shown that women as young as their 20s had been diagnosed with cervical cancer,” the Director-General of Health Services revealed.

He noted that those who were not vaccinated were at risk from severe health complications.

“In all aspects of health, prevention is definitely better than cure. Prevention through immunisation is the single most cost-effective health intervention, making it a cornerstone in the effort to promote health not only for the nation, but worldwide,” he added.

Pg Dr Hj Md Khalifah also said that rubella, a mild illness transmitted through airborne droplets, could be detrimental to a pregnant woman and her unborn child if she is infected during her first trimester.

“With our strong national immunisation programme and immunisation after-delivery to those mothers found to be susceptible through well-established antenatal screening, we are fortunate that rubella is no longer a threat in our country. In addition to that, we have successfully interrupted the transmission of endemic measles. However, having said that, we must not be complacent,” he said.

He cited that a century ago, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide, including Brunei.

However, it was no longer the case today due to the numerous efforts by the MoH, according to him.

“One of the efforts that contributed to this reduction is through effective immunisation programmes across the country. Immunisation protects individuals and communities by preventing the spread of diseases,” Pg Dr Hj Md Khalifah said.

The training workshop was held specifically for the medical officers of the department of pediatrics, nurses, centres and health clinics, school services division as well as representatives from the medical department of the Ministry of Defence.

The Brunei Times