KP starts getting vaccines directly from Unicef
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has become the first province of the country to receive vaccine from Unicef directly instead of getting it from federal government after the passage of 18th Amendment, according to officials.
They said that previously they faced delay in getting vaccines that led to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable childhood ailments, which killed hundreds of children in recent past.After passage of 18th Amendment, the ministry of health ceased to exist at federal level and the provinces were supposed to procure vaccines and look after supply chain management on their own, officials said.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa became the first province to procure high quality and cost-effective vaccines on Monday and apply brakes on children diseases.Officials said that under the new arrangement, they would get prompt supply of the vaccine to overcome diseases’ prevalence.
“We receive direct vaccine consignment. We will be able to immunise all children and mothers. Previously, the ministry of health procured the vaccine for the province,” officials told Dawn. According to them, the vaccine procured by the province through Unicef are approved by WHO and it will lead to effective immunisation programme.
The expanded programme on immunisation (EPI) of the health department spearheaded the immunisation consignment of measles and BCG vaccine, they said.
Sources said that recently the donor agencies as well as the government realised that measles caused deaths while too much attention was paid to polio that rendered children handicapped so immunisation needed to be strengthened to protect them against nine diseases, including polio.
Another consignment to ensure uninterrupted supple of vaccine for the next four months will arrive this month. Previously, the provinces faced shortage of vaccines because the procedure adopted by the federal government to purchase vaccines for the provinces was lengthy as well costly.
According to relevant officials, under the new agreement, the province will procure vaccine on its own and will be responsible for outbreaks of diseases.
They hope that there would be no shortage of vaccines in the future. Officials said that the process of purchase at the federal level was costly because of the influence of the manufacturers but Unicef being a donor technical agency bought high quality vaccines at the lowest possible rate.
Officials in health department said that they would they put the vaccine in their cold rooms in Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Mardan, Malakand and Mansehra to be distributed among the districts and down to primary level facilities.
“Supplies of vaccines to the EPI centres in all union councils will be ensured to achieve desired goals,” they said. Previously, supply of vaccines to far-off areas remained a problem that affected immunisation, they added.
The department, officials said, had done its homework and was fully prepared to perform the task of ensuring uninterrupted supply chain to overcome the preventable diseases in children. Formerly, the children suffered for want of vaccine due to its non-availability.
“It will prove detrimental in improvement of vaccination. The health department will make procurement on the basis of its needs through elaborate planning,” officials said.
© The DAWN Group of Newspapers