The Steering Committee on Expanded Program on Immunization convened here on Tuesday at the Directorate General Health Services on special directives from Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid.
The Steering Committee is the apex technical forum to review disease outbreaks, prepare responses and suggest approaches to improve progress and performance of the Punjab EPI.
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 including epidemiologist, paediatricians, 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.
The Director EPI shared that the Phase-II of the TCV campaign was successfully completed in 24 districts from June 12 to 26 and as many as 12.7 million children were vaccinated with a coverage of over 100 %.
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.
Director EPI shared with the participants that Punjab had achieved all its nine Disbursement Linked Indicators as per commitment and the province was certified during Federal EPI Review Meeting for successful DLI Validation.
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 up to 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 Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid under a One System vision which aims at bringing together EPI Profiling, Micro-planning, 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 cases had been reported in 12 districts of the province.
He said that 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 284,260 children.
The health minister in her message said, “Punjab has been witnessing steady improvement in routine immunization coverage. The key to enhanced performance is improved surveillance.”