QUETTA: Balochistan Health Minister Rehmat Saleh Baloch has said that the provincial government was committed to eliminating morbidity and mortality relating to vaccine preventable diseases.
“This is reflected by recent increase in the fund and mobilisation resources by the government to strengthen routine immunisation,” he said while speaking to a delegation of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) – a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health – commissioners and deputy commissioners, health officers and Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) officers at the Quarterly EPI review meeting of the third quarter on Friday.
He said all possible steps would be taken to create awareness among the people of far-off areas of the province about the success of the EPI programme.
The two-day review meeting discussed challenges and bottlenecks faced by the district immunisation coverage in the province.
Dr Shakir Baloch, provincial EPI manager and director-general, assured district administration officers of full support to improve and sustain the progress of the EPI programme.
The meeting expressed concern over low level of success, noting that the immunisation programme for children in Balochistan had a 16% success rate which was the lowest among all the provinces in Pakistan.
It was pointed out that major reasons behind the alarming situation were inadequate allocation – both financial and human resources – to the EPI programme, management issues at the provincial and district level, non-availability of data regarding population figures, vaccine availability, storage/handling and above all awareness and willingness of the masses to get their children vaccinated.
Immunisation coverage in Balochistan has been low, the meeting was briefed. The government of Balochistan has set an ambitious target to improve immunisation coverage and released significant resources over the last year to reach these goals.
To support the government in its targets, Gavi and UNICEF are undertaking work to identify and help the government address barriers that remain in turning the resources into an increase in immunisation coverage.
Later, Health Minister Rehmat Baloch distributed the cold chain management system, motorcycles, vehicles among district health officers at a ceremony held at the EPI headquarters.
GAVI had announced $20 million to assist with the cold chain management system for vaccines in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Baloch said: “The cold chain management system would be set up in all six divisions of the province.”
“With the provision of the cold chain, now we will be able to preserve anti-polio and other vaccines for a year,” he added.
“Through the EPI we will be able to control all major diseases affecting the children in the province,” he said, adding, “We will protect our children.”
He urged parents and civil society to play their role in making the government move a successes.
Source: Tribune News | Vaccination success low in Balochistan