By Our Staff Reporter
LAHORE – In order to gain more control over the Vaccine Preventive Diseases (VPD), the government of Punjab is taking measures to strengthen the routine immunisation procedures, under the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI). This will help reduce illness, disability and mortality due to childhood diseases, preventable by immunisation.
According to recent media reports; the Advisor on Heath – Khawaja Salman Rafiq said that; Special attention is being paid to control VPD for which routine immunisation under EPI is being strengthened. “Implementation on Chief Minister Health Roadmap programme has been started to improve primary and secondary healthcare in Punjab,” Salman stated this while talking to a high level 25-member delegation of Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation (GAVI) from Geneva.
The delegation led by CEO GAVI Dr Seth Barklay, held a meeting with Advisor on Health and other senior officers of Punjab government to discuss EPI. Additional Chief Secretary Syed Mubashar Raza, Secretary Health JawwadRafiq Malik, Parliamentary Secretary Health Khawaja Imran Nazir, Special Secretary Finance Ahmad Raza Sarwar, DG Health Punjab Dr ZahidPervaiz and representatives of international development partners were also present in the meeting.
It may be noted that the eight EPI target diseases cause ailments, disabilities and deaths each year. These diseases are poliomyelitis, neonatal tetanus, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, hib pneumonia and meningitis and childhood tuberculosis.
On this occasion, CEO GAVI Dr Seth Barklay said that; co-operation from GAVI for strengthening of EPI and vaccine preventive diseases programme will continue rather it will be further enhanced. Secretary Health -JawwadRafiq Malik apprised the GAVI delegation regarding the measures taken by the Health department for the improvement in routine immunisation and strengthening of EPI system to prevent infants, children and pregnant women against diseases, creation of new vacancies of vaccinators, e-monitoring of vaccinators through android phones, vaccine tracking system, training of lady health workers, fool-proof micro planning of routine immunisation and polio campaigns and third-party evaluation of the working of BHUs, RHCs and immunisation.
He stated that lady health workers (LHWs) have performed a very successful role in the prevention of diseases and improvement of Mother and Child Health Programme, therefore, 4,000 lady health community workers are being recruited for urban slums for promoting healthy activities.
He said that Vaccine Logistic Management Information System (VLMIS) is also being extended to remaining 23 districts. While talking to GAVI CEO, Salman Rafiq said that two warehouses with the collaboration of Unicef are being established in Lahore and Multan for stocking vaccines whereas Chinese government has also provided 36 refrigerators carriers for transportation of vaccine. Moreover, implementation on CM Health Roadmap programme has already been started for the improvement of primary and secondary healthcare system, he added.
He said that strong monitoring system has been evolved and 172 evaluation and monitoring assistants have been posted in all the districts while specialist doctors are being deputed in DHQ and THQ hospitals for this purpose. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has granted approval to special incentive package for specialist doctors, he mentioned.