ISLAMABAD: A high-level vaccine alliance has recommended policy revision of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) and directed officials to incorporate the emerging needs into the programme.
The mission also emphasised the need to rationalise various systems for monitoring the data flow and integrating various technologies for the success of the programme.
The recommendations came in a high-level meeting between the Federal Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar and international mission visiting Pakistan to assess the country’s progress in strengthening mother and child immunisation under the EPI programme.
The joint appraisal mission visited Pakistan from 31st July to 10th August 2017 which included top health experts from World Bank, GAVI, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organisation, Unicef and USAID, among others.
The Annual Joint Appraisal reviewed the implementation progress and performance of the programme jointly initiated by the Pakistani government and GAVI. The aim of the meeting was to achieve a common understanding of opportunities, challenges and critical needs for support and technical assistance through transparent dialogue.
The issues that came under the discussion included strengthening of cold chain capacity, technical-assistance needs and terms of public-private partnership in accordance with the recommendations made by the donors of routine immunisation.
The mission recommended updating the EPI policy. Saira said routine immunisation is the most cost-effective public health intervention for ensuring significant reductions in morbidity and mortality rates, said the health minister.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2017.
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