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Wednesday July 06, 2022

3,500 vaccinators get latest phones to enhance immunisation

June 24, 2022

Pakistan’s success has been discussed as a role model for achieving the Covid-19 vaccination target at the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva, and Sindh is the first province of the country to have immunised 100 per cent of its eligible population, health department officials claimed on Thursday.

“Very soon Sindh would be leading in inoculating children against vaccine-preventable diseases, as we’re using a combination of manual and technological resources to immunise as many kids in the province as possible,” Health Secretary Syed Zulfiqar Shah said during a ceremony for distributing phones among vaccinators at the EPI Hall.

The health department started distributing 3,500 latest mobile phones, which have been provided by the global vaccine alliance GAVI through IRD Pakistan, to vaccinators working throughout the province for enhancing immunisation coverage, monitoring their performance and collecting real-time data.

Shah said the phones have the Zindagi Mehfooz app installed for the purpose. He said that in 2017 the Sindh Electronic Immunisation Registry — Zindagi Mehfooz app was integrated into the health department’s EPI portfolio and scaled up to cover all 30 provincial districts.

In recent years the app’s use has been expanded to Gilgit, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad Capital Territory, he added. “What started out as a simple android app has now evolved into a super app with new added features to improve the process of immunisation.”

According to him, over eight million children and two million women have been enrolled in the app, which is being used by over 3,500 vaccinators across the province, with the mission to leave no child behind.

He pointed out that the health department’s access to real-time data has led to a marked improvement in vaccinator attendance and compliance, and improved the capacity of the EPI department for better monitoring, evaluation and accountability, resulting in improved immunisation coverage across the province.

Decapitation

Later, responding to the queries of journalists, the health secretary said action is being taken against the officials responsible for a baby’s decapitation during birth in Chachro, Tharparkar, adding that the healthcare commission has been asked to take action against the missionary hospital.

Replying to another question, he said that through public-private partnership, efforts are being made for repairing the non-functional radiological equipment and maintaining them. He added that efforts are also being made to improve the district headquarters hospitals in various districts, including Jacobabad.

Immunisation

EPI Project Director Dr Irshad Memon said Sindh’s routine immunisation programme has been transformed over the past six months, and now it is heading towards achieving its initial target of 80 per cent routine immunisation very soon.

“We have data on eight million children and two million women, and we know their vaccination status. Our vaccinators are now equipped with the latest gadgets, and we’re monitoring their performance, so we’re hopeful of a real transformation in the area of routine immunisation to save people from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Senior Adviser for IRD Pakistan Dr Akram Sultan said his organisation is working with the health department in various areas to increase service delivery, especially in the area of mother & child health.

He hoped that upgraded models of mobile phones would increase the performance of vaccinators in reaching out to the maximum number of children for routine vaccination. Lauding the efforts of Shah and Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, he said IRD would continue to provide technical assistance and support in making Sindh a disease-free province and a healthy society.

Later, Shah distributed the phones among vaccinators from different districts who had been invited for the purpose. Peoples Primary Healthcare Initiative, World Health Organisation and Unicef officials were also present on the occasion.

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