Infectious diseases are a major cause of death in Pakistan. Pakistan has become a hub of infectious diseases in the region. Pakistan is bearing the second highest prevalence of hepatitis C, stands on number four in drug resistance tuberculosis cases and eighth among the countries which bear 95% of the burden of infectious diseases. This situation is quite alarming and our health care system has failed terribly to solve these problems. In 2016, we started Volunteer Force Against Hepatitis Transmission with a vision of “Prevention is better than cure” to educate the general public regarding prevention against infectious diseases. Within three years, thousands of volunteers across the country joined hands to educate the general population about preventive measures. But there was a link that was still missing. Educating the general population alone is not sufficient. Health care providers are found to be the major cause of spreading many infectious diseases. Health care providers need training in terms of infection Prevention and Control on an urgent basis to reduce the burden of infectious diseases. Unfortunately, there is no such institution that trains health care providers on such grounds, nor do we have a functional regulatory body to keep checks and balances on health care providers to make sure that they follow the standard guidelines. The concept of the Institute of Infection Prevention and Control (IIPAC) was envisioned, with the goal of imparting education and training to health care workers to prevent spread of infections in health care facilities. Colleagues from Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (MMIDSP) are helping to materialize the vision of IIPAC. Recently we have launched VFAHT KIDS to reach out to kids and their parents to bring about grass root level change. I believe making Pakistan is going to be a behavioral shift, most of all.
We have brought all three divisions i.e. IIPAC, VFAHT, and VFAHT KIDS under one umbrella of Infection Prevention and Control Foundation. Through this unified platform we will strive for a healthier and infection free Pakistan.
Mohammad Sameer Shafi MD
Chairman Board of Trustees Infection Prevention And Control Foundation
VICE CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE
I consider the establishment of the Infection Prevention and Control Foundation as the start of a new era for preventive health in Pakistan. When l look at it now, I realize that Pakistan should have shifted to population-based health care a long time ago but it’s never too late. We have come a long way from where we started with Volunteer Force Against Hepatitis Transmission (VFAHT) back in 2016 and it turned into a groomed volunteer body in a span of just three years. I give all the credit to my dear volunteers working tirelessly and effortlessly for the cause. I want to encourage the staff of the IPAC Foundation, volunteers of VFAHT and VFAHT KIDS to stay motivated and I believe with your passion and hard work we’ll meet our goals in no time. Last year, we reached many milestones and touched many areas whether it be spreading awareness in institutes or conducting impactful and yielding workshops. I would specifically like to mention hand hygiene campaigns and screening camps in remote areas of the country. We with the help of the energetic team were able to organize many infection control conferences and symposiums. Now with utmost proud, I can say that all the stakeholders stand with us. With such high morals and motivated spirits, we’ll continue our journey to its final destination i.e Infection Free Pakistan.
Umar Farooq, MD, MS
Associate Chief Medical Officer, Penn State Health
Infectious diseases are one of the major cause of death and human suffering in the developing world. Our country is still dealing with those infectious diseases that should’ve been extinct by now and do not exist anywhere else in the world. Just this year we have seen major outbreaks of HIV and Typhoid in urban centers. More than one thousand HIV cases from Sindh and 100,000 Typhoid cases from Punjab should ring the bells in the corridors of policy makers and regulators. These statistics are alarming and show how vital the infection prevention is. Infection Prevention and Control Foundation aims to set up a system which will help monitor the implementation of preventive measures in healthcare facilities as well as households. We are going to achieve this by capacity building of healthcare providers, and introduction of latest public health tools. Pakistan is in dire need for such mechanisms or soon the problem will get out of hand. We cannot afford to have 90% of our hospital beds occupied with Hepatitis B and C patients by 2028 as predicted by global institutions. Our health system will collapse if such a situation were to arise. With its divisions i.e. Institute of Infection Prevention And Control (IIPAC), Volunteer Force Against Hepatitis Transmission (VFAHT), and Volunteer Force Against Hepatitis Transmission Kids (VFAHT Kids), IPAC Foundation is venturing for a healthy and infection free world.
M. Murtaza Arain MD
Director of Trauma Services
Adventist Hinsdale Hospital
Our society is not aware of the huge advantages of preventive health that people of other countries have benefited in past decades. Developing countries including Pakistan are focused on a treatment based healthcare system instead of a preventive system. This means that system only accepts the sick ones and then spends hugely on treating them. In most chronic cases the cure is not guaranteed either. It causes a drastic decrease of quality of life index in the society and results in many premature deaths. This in the longer run adversely affects the country’s overall productivity as well. Health costs go up and quality of healthcare goes down for countries which are already spending very little of GDP on health. Kids are the most important population group when it comes to health of the society. Infections they catch, sickness they get in childhood can go with them all their life. Parents have the most important role in health of their kids. According to World Health Organization, Pakistan accounts for 7% of global neonatal deaths. 36% of those deaths occur because of infections. That means, about 107,280 kids die of infectious diseases every year and do not get to celebrate their first birthday. 50% of admissions in pediatric emergency centers are solely because of gastrointestinal infections. These statistics are alarming and provide all the more reason to restructure our system in a way that we defeat a disease before it even gets the opportunity to catch the kids. VFAHT KIDS aims to do just that, by bringing parents, kids, healthcare providers, civil society and policy makers on a single platform so that focus is shifted to more awareness about infectious diseases, better hand and oral hygiene, increased vaccination coverage and integrated health of whole society.
Philanthropist, Patron M&S Shafi Foundation
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