The Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) Sindh officially launched a project that integrates private providers to boost routine childhood vaccination in the low-income areas of Karachi.
The project has been integrating local private healthcare providers with the support of Aga Khan University (AKU) in communities to plug gaps in the government's immunisation infrastructure and develop a network of social mobilisers to increase immunisation coverage.
The project has been operational since 2022 in targeted areas of high immunisation refusals in the eight Union Councils of Karachi. The project aims to increase zero-dose vaccination provided at birth as well as Penta-3 vaccination in children under six months old.
The immunisation services and basic preventive care will eventually be offered at 18 EPI centres in private clinics, NGO clinics and maternity homes.
Sindh Minister for Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho presided over the launch and took an active interest in various aspects of the project. Project lead from AKU Professor Shehla Zaidi gave a detailed presentation that unveiled a result-oriented roadmap of the project and covered progress on her team's efforts to ensure quality services, supported digital communication and community networks.
Dr Pechuho lauded the project and elaborated on the challenges of immunisation delivery in urban areas. "There is a need to focus on preventive healthcare to lower the burden of disease in the province.
AKU Dean Dr Adil H. Haider said the project was an excellent example of a successful collaboration between various stakeholders. The project is being funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2023.
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