Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar discussing strengthening immunization for Pakistani Children with Chief Executive Global Alliance.

November 15, 2017

 The Federal Health Minister for National Health Services, Ms. Saira Afzal Tarar, said that Government of Pakistan’s priority for immunization with focus on equity; The Government of Pakistan appreciates the tremendous partnership with Gavi and its continuous support to the country while she was talking with Dr Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, today in Abu Dhabi.  

Minister said that Pakistan has most recently applied for the Gavi support for Measles campaigns, as the country plans to conduct a nationwide campaign in March–April 2018 for preventing the risk of measles outbreak and to curtail the risk of morbidity and mortality of children due to this serious disease. Seeing the criticality of the programme need, The Government of Pakistan has forwarded a request to GAVI to intervene for supporting the urgent need of the country.

Minister said that Provincial Governments are fully committed and prepared to conduct the quality measles campaign. The EPI programme is building upon the lessons learnt from the previous campaign as well as the mop-ups which have been recently completed by the provinces, based on which a comprehensive micro planning and timelines have  been developed in consensus with the provinces. In this regard a dedicated session was held during the last Joint Supervision, Appraisal and Evaluation Mission which I chaired where it was agreed to conduct Measles campaigns in March/ April 2018 in the view of Measles risk assessment by WHO and epidemiological analysis by the experts. Government of Pakistan is grateful to Gavi as the additional support will help the programme in targeting the poorly and inadequately immunized strata of the urban slums where the largest number of under and un-immunized children reside in Pakistan.

Minister said that  further with the Support of Gavi Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform the Programme could be expanding its cold chain points which shall improve the overall vaccine and logistics management system and will boost the service delivery.

She said Government of Pakistan particularly appreciates Gavi “One Technical Assistance Plan” initiative which has helped the country in optimizing the donor funds, being utilized through the development partners, for best value of money without duplication of efforts and resources. The pooled funding under Multi Donor Trust fund mechanism along with the integrated Performance framework in National Immunization Support Project (NISP) has further synergized the support in the technical assistance in priority areas.

Minister said EPI programme continues to work in synergy with Polio Eradication initiative. A working group on synergy has been constituted. At Federal level an EPI officer has been deputed as the member in EOC for better coordination for sharing of the zero-dose and defaulters data , based on which Federal EPI is regularly providing feedback to the Provincial Programmes for improving the service delivery efforts and covering the un-immunized population.