Call for strengthening immunization coverage to ensure safer Pakistan
Islamabad (TP) September 18, 2020: Speakers have called for strengthening immunization coverage to ensure safer Pakistan.
They were speaking at the launch of the Third Party Verification Immunization Coverage Survey (TPVICS), conducted by the Aga Khan University and partners with the support of the World Health Organization, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and others. The nationwide survey aimed at improving the performance of Pakistan’s immunisation system.
The TPVICS has been conducted by the university under the country’s five-year National Immunization Support Project which seeks to deliver universal access to vaccines against nine preventable diseases, one of the key targets under Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being.
National Program Manager, Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), Ministry of Health Dr Muhammad Rana Safdar in his closing remarks emphasized that the results generated through this important survey will enable the health ministry to strengthen the coverage of the national immunization to ensure that every child gets the due vaccines to prevent the 11 common diseases in The nationwide cross-sectional survey aimed to cover 152 districts of Pakistan to ascertain the coverage of the national immunization in the country. The survey interviewed household leads in the identified 152 districts of Pakistan to identify the extent of vaccination that has been undertaken, and identify any possible gaps, to further augment the national efforts towards immunization.
Dr Sajid Bashir Soofi, Principal Investigator of the Survey from the Aga Khan University (AKU), assured that every possible effort has been made to corroborate highest possible quality in the data collection for this imperative initiative. This long-awaited survey will provide the policy-makers with the required results to strengthen the nation’s immunization efforts.
Deputy Director EPI Dr Soofia Yonus and Dr Altaf Bosan, Country Representative of BMGF, Dr Muhammad Atif Habib, Co-Principal Investigator, AKU, Imran Ahmed Chaudhary, Head, Data Management, AKU, Imtiaz Hussain, Project Director and Dr Mudasir Altaf were also present at the training programme there to provide technical support and encouragement to the trainees in Islamabad.
Low vaccine coverage across the country poses a variety of problems for the country’s health system. These range from the persistence of polio – which has been eradicated outside of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria – as well as the prevalence of preventable diseases such as childhood tuberculosis, hepatitis B and types of pneumonia and measles.