The Child Rights Movement has sent a letter to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif asking him to devote more resources for the health sector.
The CRM, a coalition of civil society organisations working for promotion and protection of child rights, said health was a neglected sector in the province. It said routine immunisation for children was an issue that required more attention.
The CRM cited the recent measles outbreak as evidence of weakness of routine immunisation systems. As many as 185 children died and 21,817 were infected in six months.
The quality of measles vaccine used in the province has also been called into question by an official who manages the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in Punjab.
CRM Coordinator Syed Miqdad Naqvi wrote, “There are only 10,335 vaccinators in the province, strongly limiting the immunisation coverage. It is essential to increase the number of vaccinators so that there is a vaccinator for every 5,000 people, as per WHO recommendations.”
He also recommended expansion in the set of responsibilities of LHWs to formally include routine immunisation.
He wrote that routine immunisation should be a part of the awareness strategy to generate demand from communities.
“Every child has the right to survival and health and this starts with immunisation. Immunisation is the most cost-effective health intervention known to mankind. As civil society organisations, we are concerned with issues related to weak routine immunisation system in the Punjab. Strengthening routine immunisation is a sustainable way to cope with such epidemics” Naqvi wrote.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2013.