Outreach session started across Punjab to boost immunization in weak UCs

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As a part of the World Immunization Week 2022 activities, Punjab has started intensive outreach sessions at community level to improve immunization coverage in weak Union Councils.

Director Expanded Program on Immunization Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Awan and Coordinator Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Eradication Syeda Ramala Ali inaugurated the outreach site in urban slums of UC 84 near Bund Road here on Wednesday.

The World Immunization Week is being commemorated world over from 24th to 30th April.

EOC Coordinator Syeda Ramala Ali said that vaccines were key intervention to save lives against many diseases. She said access to a basic lifesaving intervention like vaccination can save many young lives. She said, “We have to ensure that the benefits of immunization are evenly shared by all. We must ensure that all populations, especially the poorest and the most marginalized, have equitable access to immunization services. Polio program is extending all out support to increase Immunization coverage in Punjab.”

The theme for 2022 is “Long Life for All; In pursuit of a long life well lived”. The ultimate goal of World Immunization Week is for more people – and their communities – to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Director EPI Punjab Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Awan said that the World Immunization Week 2022 was an opportunity to increase demand through active engagement of a wide range of stakeholders. He said, “The EPI Punjab has chalked out a comprehensive plan to use the opportunity and cover missed children, and vaccinate unimmunized or partially immunized children.

These outreach sessions are being organized in over 450 weak UC all 36 districts of Punjab as part of the World Immunization Week 2022. The activity is being carried out with support of the World Health Organization.”

He said Punjab provides free vaccination for 12 vaccine preventable diseases including childhood TB, Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Hib Pneumonia, Meningitis, Typhoid, Rota-related diarrhea, Measles and rubella which are administered through EPI outreach and fixed centres across the province. He said Punjab introduced two new antigens typhoid conjugate vaccine and rubella besides including Hepatitis birth dose and DTP Booster in Routine Immunization schedule in last one year. He also said that challenge of coverage in slums and underserved urban areas was being met by establishing new EPI center through Public Private Partnership, recruiting new vaccinators, Mobile vaccination and creating mass awareness. He said that the program is introducing innovative strategies to increase coverage in south districts as well as in five mega urban districts. He also appreciated the role of partners and donors like UNICEF, WHO, GAVI & BMGF for extending their technical, financial and in-kind support for immunization program in Punjab.

Vaccines not only prevent deaths but also reduce illness and disability. Between 2010 and 2018, 23 million deaths globally were averted with measles vaccine alone.

WHO representative Dr. Imran Qureshi said that WHO works with countries across the globe to raise awareness of the value of vaccines and immunization and ensures that governments obtain the necessary guidance and technical support to implement high-quality immunization programmes.

The ultimate goal of World Immunization Week is for more people – and their communities – to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.