RAWALPINDI: Under a new participatory strategy, the Punjab government has decided to engage health workers for vaccination to help achieve immunisation targets.
The lady health workers (LHWs) and lady health visitors (LHVs) — whose primary role is provision of basic healthcare services at community level — will be given vaccination training before they are assigned as vaccinators, said a health official.
Rawalpindi District Health Development Center (DHDC) Programme Director Dr Uzma Hayat told The Express Tribune that under the plan, the first stage of the upcoming vaccination drive will be handled by existing trained vaccinators, while future doses will be administered by LHWs and LHVs after they have undergone training.
She said that health workers’ role was previously limited to social mobilisation, giving family planning advice, and other related issues in rural areas. “Similarly, LHWs also compile and provide reports on new childbirths, population demographics and other related matters at basic health units.”
“Now they will be fully engaged in vaccination drives to help achieve maximum immunisation targets as they (LHWs and LHVs) have proven to be more successful [at gaining public trust] as they belong to the same communities and have close ties with parents in their areas,” Dr Hayat explained.
According to Hayat, a pilot project on similar lines has already been carried out in selected areas of Punjab and was yielding encouraging results.
“The outcome has proven that having LHWs and LHVs administer vaccines results in enhanced,” said the doctor.
She said that LHWs are also responsible for the provision of basic assistance and relevant advice on mother and child health issues, while LHVs are currently involved in dengue mitigation and elimination efforts.
“Apart from achieving the immunization targets, we are also aiming to reduce vaccination refusals,” Dr Hayat said, adding that under the new strategy, static stations will also be set up for the storage of vaccines.
“The health workers will be trained to properly store and administer vaccines at these stations during immunisation campaigns,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2015.