Minister National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said National EPI Review is an important event when all of us gather to analyze the programme’s performance and reflect upon our strengths and weaknesses. This self-assessment of the programme helps in aligning the strategies for addressing the gaps and challenges. The success of any programme lies in good planning and effective implementation of the programme. The EPI review would give an opportunity to improve future planning and programme implementation through experience sharing and brainstorming, so that innovative and cost effective strategies are devised to address the underlying challenges and bottlenecks. While she was addressing the National Annual EPI Review meeting today in Islamabad.

She said under the stewardship of Ministry of National Health Services, a great deal of effort has been made in few years by the programme. The development of PC-Is for the programme was indeed a great challenge in terms of securing the Provincial and Federal budgets specially for the procurement of vaccines, which have been approved.

She highlighted some of past years achievements of the programme that is the finalization and initiation of National Immunization Support Program with multi donor trust fund. Pakistan has been cleared from default status and fulfilled its co-financing obligation with GAVI for 2015 which was lagging behind since year 2012 with special thanks to GAVI for extending flexibility and the introduction of new vaccines like IPV and  Rota virus in Routine Immunization.

She said programme conducted nationwide assessment for Cold Chain Capacity and a national application for GAVI CCE-OP has been approved in first round by IRC; this shall resolve the major issue of vaccine storage and maintaining the quality of vaccine with minimal wastage. It was also encouraging to see the positive feedback from the Vaccine Audit team done by third party and GAVI team upto provincial level. With this amount of effort; the ground has been laid for continuous improvements in all domains of immunization.

Minister called upon the Provinces and Areas to redouble their efforts to achieve the targets through effective plans of action within the defined time lines. There is a strong realization at every forum that synergy between EPI and PEI is the solution to sustain the Polio eradication. I urge all the provinces and Areas to strengthening Routine Immunization with zeal to work against the Vaccine Preventable Diseases.It is gratifying to see the level of commitment and coordination amongst all stakeholders who are putting their efforts into improving the immunization coverage despite challenges.

She assured full support to the provinces in ensuring uninterrupted vaccine supply, coordinating for a uniform policy guideline and designing the plans in compliance with international commitments.

She thanked development partners GAVI,USAID, BMGF, JICA and technical partners World Bank ,UNICEF , WHO for their continued assistance to the program.