Islamabad, March 24, 2016 - Members of the Women Parliamentary Caucus were briefed on the Compulsory Immunization and Protection of Health Workers Bill in its general body meeting today. The Bill has recently been passed by the upper House and soon to be introduced in the National Assembly. Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, mover of the Bill, presented the broad contours of the Bill and objectives of brining such legislation in the country. Secretary of the Women Parliamentary Caucus, MNA Shaista Pervaiz welcomed the initiative of bringing Caucus members on board before tabling the Bill in the National Assembly.

While introducing the Bill, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said that 1 out of every 10 children die due to vaccine preventable diseases and it is dilemma that most of our children do not reach their 5th birthday due to the diseases that can be prevented through effective vaccinations. “Right to life has been recognized as a fundamental right and the state is duty-bound to provide safeguards and an enabling environment that allows an individual to lead a secure and healthful life. Protection from diseases that cause death and disability is therefore an obligation of the state”, said Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq.

The members were briefed that children are the most vulnerable segment of the society who requires protection and care by the family and the state. It is the right of every child to be protected against fatal diseases. It is alarming that around 46 percent of children in the country remain deprived of their right to immunization in the country. According to experts, denial of vaccination or inability to vaccinate a child not only exposes the child to a serious risk of contracting infectious diseases but also puts the other children in the community at risk. An unvaccinated child is therefore akin to a ticking bomb.

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq in her briefing apprised members that the intent of this bill is to establish immunization as a norm in the society through making the caregivers, health providers and heads of learning institutions of children, responsible to ensure that a child is fully protected against all diseases being covered under the country’s immunization program and other interventions launched by the government in view of the incidence or prevalence of a particular disease.

Members of the Women Parliamentary caucus raised various queries about the Bill and appreciated the initiative to make Immunization a compulsory norm in the society. Members ensured their full support to the legislation once it is tabled in the National Assembly.