As cases rising in 12 districts, Punjab decides anti-measles campaign in November

As cases rising in 12 districts, Punjab decides anti-measles campaign in November As cases rising in 12 districts, Punjab decides anti-measles campaign in November

Lahore: The Steering Committee of the Expanded Program on Immunization met here on Tuesday at the Directorate General Health Services to discuss vaccination process involving multiple diseases including measles.

The Director EPI shared that the Phase-II of the TCV campaign was successfully completed in 24 districts from June 12 to 26 and 12.7 million were children were vaccinated with a coverage of over 100 per cent.

The DHS EPI shared that a 10% decline in Typhoid positivity rate was observed after completion of TCV Catch-up Campaign by end of June 2021. 

The Steering Committee is the apex technical forum to review disease outbreaks, prepare responses and suggest approaches to improve progress and performance of EPI Punjab.

The committee reviews surveillance data of vaccine preventable diseases and provides technical insight into the strategies to control diseases outbreaks and epidemics.

The meeting was attended by committee members that include epidemiologist, pediatricians, experts of public health, medicines as well as technical team officials from WHO, UNICEF and BMGF. Director EPI Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed presented the agenda items before the committee members. 

Director EPI shared before the committee that Punjab had achieved all of its nine Disbursement Linked Indicator as per commitment and the province was certified during Federal EPI Review Meeting for successful DLI Validation. 

The World Health Organization representative shared that the WHO had resumed the Enhanced Outreach Activity (EOA) in 23 Priority Districts of Punjab from July 2021 to track defaulter children. The EOA had helped cover upto 80% defaulter children till March 2021.

The representative also shared that the WHO-supported EPI MIS will be ready for roll out within 16 weeks. The work on MIS was initiated on directions from Health Minister Punjab Dr. Yasmin Rashid under a One System vision which aims to bring together EPI Profiling, Microplanning, Routine EPI Coverage, Vaccine Management, Cold chain and Logistics Management, Vaccine Preventable Disease Surveillance and interfacing in a coherent system. 

The WHO representative also shared that in the last six months, 50 measles outbreaks had been reported in 12 districts of the province and given the resurgence of the disease, the National Ministry of Health Services, Coordination and Regulations had decided to conduct country wide MR catch-up campaign in November 2021. 

The WHO representative also shared that Measles Response Initiative (MRI) campaign was conducted from 5th to 10th July 2021 in 44 UCs of the province having Rawalpindi (35 UCs) and Lahore (9 UCs). He shared that a total of 269,784 children were vaccinated from a target of 2,84,260 children. 

Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, in her message, said, “Punjab has been witnessing steady improvement in routine immunization coverage. The key to enhanced performance is improved surveillance.”

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