Lahore: Punjab is all set to bolster its Routine Immunization in a bid to eradicate the vaccine preventable diseases, said Secretary Health Jawad Rafique Malik here at a Conference on Improvement in EPI Service Delivery at Royal Palm Golf and Country Club on Wednesday.
In attendance at the Workshop were Director General Health Dr. Zahid Pervaiz, Director EPI Dr. Munir Ahmed, Program Director PSPU Ali Bahadur Qazi, Additional Program Director Technical Dr. Syeda Zahida Sarwar and senior officials of Policy and Strategic Planning Unit, EPI Cell Punjab, UNICEF, WHO, Chief Minister Roadmap team, and senior officials of health department.
The objective was to seek suggestions of various stakeholders for the improvement in EPI service delivery. The Secretary said that Punjab has made visible progress in surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases, yet the pace of improvement needs a boost. He directed top tier management to ensure strict monitoring of staff and logistics at all levels. Director General Health shared that overall objective of EPI is to reduce mortality and morbidity from the 9 VPDs. He praised Health Department teams for successfully conducting Measles Campaign from 26 January to 9 February. He also said Routine Immunization featured as the top most item in the provincial Action Plan.
Director EPI Dr Munir Ahmed said that statistics from different studied suggest fully immunized child coverage in Punjab was around 75%. He said with improved Routine Immunization, this could be brought to 100 per cent. Dr. Rana Mushtaq from UNICEF gave a detailed analysis of the administrative and material bottlenecks impeding the progress in Punjab. He also suggested remedial measures for improvement. Program Director PSPU Ali Bahadur Qazi said the target was to achieve the 100 % coverage within the next 3-4 years for Routine Immunization and all efforts were being made to this end.
Dr. Mazhar Quereshi from WHO Immunization gave a presentation on suggestions tabled by group of experts. Suggestions were sought from groups of experts on the following areas: Political will, Governance and Commitment, Programme Management, Supervision and monitoring, Service Delivery, Data Management, Social mobilization and community involvement and coordination with EPI activities. Routine Immunization services in Punjab are provided almost exclusively through the EPI with a minimum contribution of the private sector (about 3%).
The service is provided through more than 3000 fixed centers and more than 3600 vaccinator through outreach and about 2800 LHVs. Approximately 47000 Lady Health Workers (LHWs) are assisting in social mobilization, defaulter tracing and providing vaccination services.