PR No.36 Global Vaccine Body Deputy Chief Calls On Health Minister – 830 Million Us Dollars Support Being Provided For Pakistani Children Islamabad: March 4, 2016

Anuradha Gupta, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization at the head of a high level delegation called on Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar here today to discuss collaboration in strengthening Pakistan’s child immunization program.

The Minister welcoming the delegation said government accords top most priority in the health sector to programs and initiatives aimed at protecting and safeguarding the health and well being of women and children. We recognize that investment into protection of health of women and children is an investment into the future of our country.

The Ministry has developed the ten point mother and new born child health Plan of Action in unison with the Provincial Governments to address major challenges in provision of services and their uptake by the communities. The ten point vision aims to address all issues related to MNCH in Pakistan especially our priority areas of stillbirth, breast-feeding, immunization and improving access and quality of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition primary care community based service; informed the Minister.

She said that a National Immunization Support Program has been developed in partnership with all stakeholders to sustain vaccination services in the country.

Anuradha Gupta congratulated the Minister for Health on developing a Plan of Action for improving mother and child health and on strengthening immunization services. Immunization is critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goals, she said.

Immunization was the most cost-effective intervention which does not require brick and mortar; she added.

She said 835 Million US Dollars worth of support was being provided by GAVI to Pakistan for strengthening routine immunization for children and mothers. The support was likely to be enhanced to 1 Billion US Dollars by the year 2020; she said.

Anuradha informed that her organization was paying special attention to supporting Pakistan’s immunization program. She pointed out that special attention needs to be given to provision of cold chain for vaccines in underserved areas for improving vaccination coverage.

Speaking on the occasion the Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services Muhammad Ayub Sheikh shared that it was a matter of great satisfaction that we have been able to turn around the supply and management of vaccine and bring it at par with international standards. These efforts were crowned with success with the recent ISO Certification of EPI vaccine supply and management; he said.

The Secretary said the Ministry was looking forward to the successful implementation of NISP and the Government is also fully committed to ensuring accountability and transparency in the financing mechanism. Vaccine security and delivery up to the end user is the responsibility of the Government that has the crucial role of achieving all the set indicators for routine immunization; he added.

The visiting delegation includes top functionaries from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO, UNICEF, USAID besides Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.