Down to zero: Federal, K-P govts fight diseases affecting children

Every province must participate to receive funding from GAVI


Umer Farooq July 01, 2015
GAVI agreed on financing the programme on the condition that all provinces will remain committed to it. DESIGN: AMNA IQBAL

PESHAWAR: After successful campaigns against polio in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, the federal government once again makes plans to eradicate nine preventable diseases.

According to insiders, the programme will cover polio, diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, pertussis, meningitis, hepatitis B, influenza and measles. Every province will submit a report to the federal government, explaining its long-term strategy to eradicate these diseases.

Although it is unclear who will govern the programme in the tribal areas, insiders say federal government is likely to take responsibility for the immunisation programme.

The K-P health department has already prepared the PC-1 for a five-year comprehensive, multi-year immunisation plan across the province, and forwarded it to planning and development department.

According to a health department official, the federal government aims to launch a collective drive on a regular basis against nine diseases, which are posing a serious threat to lives of children in the country.

“Just like other provinces, we also followed the directions issued by the federal government and prepared the PC-1 for the multi-year plan,” another health department official said. “It has now reached the development stage.”The official also said the report has been completed and it would be forwarded to the federal government to take the process further.

Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) officials said around 70% of the programme’s finances – which amounts to Rs17 billion – will be offered by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). They added the rest of Rs4 billion required for the programme will be offered by respective provincial governments.

“GAVI agreed on financing the programme on the condition that all provinces will remain committed to it. K-P is committed,” the official said. “A large portion of the funds will be spent on vaccines.”

Another official, requesting anonymity, said funding for human resources has not been included in the estimate as the governments have been told to hire health employees on a permanent basis. “This will reduce the the burden on the aid organisations,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.

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