ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is seeking financial assistance worth $1.15 million from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, USA for synergising Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) and routine immunisation.
Talking to The Express Tribune, a senior official in the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC), who wished not to be named, said, “It is for the first time that Pakistan is seeking financial assistance from CDC, Atlanta, USA. Though the idea was floated before, it did not get materialised due to a variety of reasons.”
This initiative will help Pakistan strengthen its routine immunisation coverage which since last few years is being ignored by the government as its major focus remained fixed on eradication of polio from the country, he added.
Though the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS) 2012-2013 shows that the overall vaccination coverage has increased from 47.3% to 53.8% as compared to 2006-07, still it is not satisfactory.
Meanwhile, in Balochistan and Sindh a drop was reported in the routine immunisation coverage.
On the other hand an independent study of Pakistan Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) was carried out between January and June 2011 by the World Bank jointly funded by Global Alliance for Vaccines Initiative (GAVI) also reveals stagnant performance of the EPI programme with only 40% to 60% children receiving vaccine at the appropriate age intervals.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) it is estimated that one in every 11 children dies before the age of five in Pakistan and a third of these deaths are due to vaccine preventable disease.
When contacted Dr Saqlain Gillani, national manager EPI, said WHO Regional Director Dr Ala Alwan and director CDC Dr Tom Frieden visited Pakistan this year.
During their visit they were briefed about the current situation of routine immunisation, after which CDC director extended its support to Pakistan to avail the opportunity of grant funding to synergise polio eradication and routine immunisation.
Initially the grant application covers one year support focusing on functional integration of Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs), Disease Surveillance and Response Units (DSRUs) for improving vaccination coverage in six districts.
After the success of the pilot project this request will be for four more years to improve service delivery, disease surveillance and response and vaccine coverage, development and implementation of micro-plans, managements and accountability of the programme among many others, said Gillani.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ