AJ Biologics Malaysia (AJB), the country’s first vaccine manufacturer, announced a collaboration with the Government of Kybher Pakhtunkwa (KP), Pakistan, to help manage and contain the current dengue outbreak within the North Western Pakistani province.
The agreement will see the KP government invest in a Dengue Advisory Board that utilises AJB’s expertise and capabilities to create a programme that focuses on containment, education, treatment protocols and training to combat the country’s current dengue outbreak. This is a critical effort in addressing the situation which has recorded more than 1,000 dengue cases and killed five people in the past two weeks.
AJB, through the advisory board will develop training programmes that will include understanding modes of dengue transmission, identifying the clinical manifestations of the four different dengue serotypes, as well as providing accurate diagnosis and subsequent clinical management of the disease.
The board will comprise Dr Tabassum Khan, Jerome Cabannes, Dr Mobashir Ahmed Bhatti, RMP Consultant and Clinical/Preventive Nutritional Medicine Member of the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), Pakistan, and two Malaysian independent researchers with globally renowned credentials in dengue management and emerging diseases.
The MOU was signed by Farah Hamid, Secretary for Industries, Commerce & Technical Education, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Jerome Cabannes, COO of AJ Biologics, and witnessed by Hassan N Ansari, Chief Strategy & Business Planning, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zones Development & Management Company and Dr Tabassum Khan, Chairman, AJ Vaccine Groups, as well as representatives from AJ Biologics; Dr Bhupinder Singh, Head of Medical and Regulatory Affairs and Hannah Nawi, Head of Corporate Communications.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Farah Hamid, said, “Dengue is a relatively new occurrence in KP and the recent outbreak in the region is something we had not anticipated. The KP government has focused a lot of resources in public education and raising awareness on the disease. The partnership with AJB is a strategic investment on our part to amplify our existing efforts by improving our medical and technical knowledge in managing the disease.”
Speaking on behalf of AJ Biologics, Dr Tabassum Khan said, “Malaysia has one of the best dengue surveillance capabilities in South East Asia and we have also been very successful in combatting and containing the repeated outbreaks that the country has experienced. Therefore, we are pleased to offer AJB’s experience and expertise to healthcare professionals in Pakistan, as we eventually look at the prevention and complete eradication of dengue.”
Following the agreement, Malaysian delegates from the advisory board will conduct a site visit and fact-finding mission to Pakistan to come up with their recommendations. The agreement with the KP government also includes a tuberculosis screening programme in the near future. This is to prevent and manage tuberculosis, a disease with a high prevalence within the Indian subcontinent . As part of this collaboration, the AJ Group has agreed to provide free tuberculin for the pilot study in KP.