Pakistan EPI to pay parents to get children vaccinated

PESHAWAR: Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) has decided to pay parents in merged tribal district for vaccinating their children against preventable diseases.

Parents will receive Rs 200 per visit till six visits as per EPI schedule.

The decision was taken to ensure every child gets vaccinated throughout the tribal districts.

Funds allocated for the purpose have been transferred to district authorities for distribution.

Parents coming to get their children inoculated at the vaccination centres will get paid from these funds to cover the traveling expenses.

Health authorities are urging people of tribal areas to bring children under two years of age for routine vaccination. This step has been taken to motivate the parents and in turn to prevent children of merged areas from vaccines preventable diseases at the maximum and to reduce mortality and morbidity in children of this deprived region of Pakistan.

Merged Areas Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) Programme Manager Dr Sahibzda Muhammad Khalid said that the coverage of routine vaccination is much below the desired level due to recent temporary displacements and repatriation.

Homesteads in merged areas are mostly scattered and away from the health facilities and this incentive will at least lessen their financial burden of transportation of children to the health facility for vaccinating their children.

“It will reflect a positive effect on the vaccination coverage on one hand and reduction in mortality and morbidity on the other hand,” the programme manager said.

Dr Khalid shared that offering cash for vaccination will bring a positive change in the behaviour of the community at large and they will opt to vaccinate their children against the diseases.

Meanwhile, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has decided to construct 68 Comprehensive Health Units (CHU) under Prime Minister’s Quick Impact Programme (QIP) to provide best medical facilities to patients of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) at their doorsteps.

“These health units would be established in all seven tribal districts and erstwhile frontier regions with latest facilities of specialists’ medical and surgical male and lady doctors, gynecologists, ambulance service and laboratories experts to provide 24 hours service to patients,” a senior official in Health Department said on Friday.

Each CHU with 35 medical, surgical, nurses and laboratory experts will cover 25,000 population in former FATA, the official said, adding one unit will be constructed with an estimated cost of Rs 110 million.

It would be properly solarized and fabricated, and its status would be equivalent to Rural Health Centres of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“PC-I and other papers work of these units have been completed and would be approved this year hopefully,” the official said, adding new hospitals would be constructed on need basis to facilitate ailing patients in all tribal districts.