Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar inaugurated the 15-day typhoid vaccination drive at a local hotel on Wednesday. During the first phase starting from February 1, children from 9 months to 15 years will be vaccinated in 12 districts while the second phase will begin in the month of May to vaccinate 1.93 crore children in urban areas of 24 other districts. Addressing the ceremony, the CM thanked the stakeholders for their cooperation and hoped the typhoid conjugate vaccine will protect the children from the fatal disease. The PTI led government is working day and night to improve the quality of life of the common man and special attention was given to the health of mother & child, he added. The CM said the construction of 7 new mother & child hospitals has been started in Lahore, Layyah, Rajanpur, Sialkot, Bahawalnagar, Attock and Mianwali. New medical colleges and universities will also be established, phase-wise, while the University of Child Health was being established at Children’s Hospital in Lahore, he continued. It is sanguine that the scope of Sehat Sahulat Card Programme has been extended to 36 districts and free medicines were also being provided to patients through Insaf Medicine Card facility. Similarly, the CM added that 8 billion rupees were being spent on upgradation of hospitals in Attock, Chiniot, DG Khan, Mianwali, Jhang, Kasur, Lodhran and Rajanpur through the prime minister’s health initiative. Along with it, around 32 thousand recruitments have been made through PPSC to overcome staff shortage in hospitals, the CM affirmed. While giving details about the health sector reforms, the chief minister said 20 new biosafety level-3 labs have increased the daily corona testing capacity from 400 to 25 thousand as the government spent 14 billion rupees on the treatment of coronavirus patients. Four such labs will be established soon, he added. Meanwhile, Rs 10 billion were earmarked for the procurement of the latest medical equipment for government hospitals. The provincial cabinet has also approved the start of a universal healthcare programme to provide free treatment facilities to 120 million people. The first phase of this programme will kick-start from Sahiwal and DG Khan, he added. The CM announced to add typhoid conjugate vaccination in the schedule of immunisation programme adding that Pakistan will be the first country to take this initiative. This drive is a noble cause to be performed with due diligence by the concerned staff, he added and vowed to free Punjab from all diseases. Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid appreciated that every healthcare initiative has been fully supported by the CM adding that centres will be established in hospitals, health centres and schools to vaccinate the children. The whole world has appreciated the timely steps taken by the provincial government to deal with coronavirus, she added. Provincial Minister Murad Raas termed the children as the future of the country and the government is fully committed to improving education and healthcare facilities. The health secretary Capt (r) Muhammad Usman disclosed that typhoid vaccine will be administered to children from March 2021. WHO and UNICEF representatives also spoke on the occasion. Health Advisor Hanif Pitafi, SACM Firdous Ashiq Awan and others attended the ceremony.