The first consignment of 2 million doses of measles vaccine procured by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for routine immunisation in Pakistan arrived here Wednesday night. The next consignment of the remaining 1.1 million doses is expected to arrive soon.
This support from WHO has been extended in response to the appeal made by the Ministry of Health last month, fearing total stock-out of measles vaccine. The WHO made special arrangement for urgently procuring 3.1 million doses of measles vaccine for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) to prevent the impending stock-out of the said vaccine in Pakistan.
The vaccines will be supplied in 10 doses vial with Vaccine Vial Monitor (VVM). This donation will help EPI to continue its routine measles vaccination service for the next three months without any interruption. Failing to vaccinate children of one-month birth cohort with this vaccine might lead to about 400,000 measles cases, of who 1,000 to 4,000 might die every month.
Even though the procurement of routine vaccine is primarily the responsibility of the Ministry of Health, “the WHO has extended this support only to avoid the impending crisis of measles vaccine, which could cause further havoc on the already crippling immunization programme, resulting in deaths and diseases of hundreds of thousands children,” a WHO press release informs.
The WHO has already shared its concern about the vaccine procurement process for EPI in the post-devolution scenario. Considering the varying degree of capacity of the provinces and challenges for procurement of vaccines having a uniform standard for safety and quality, WHO has advised continuation of the vaccine procurement process at the central level after devolution till appropriate capacity is developed and procurement mechanisms and adequate resources are placed at the provincial level.
“We believe the Ministry of Health is fully aware of the danger of interruption in routine immunization services. Whatever process for vaccine procurement is adopted after devolution, all necessary measures are to be taken on time for ensuring procurement of all routine vaccines for the next fiscal year,” said WHO Representative Dr. Guido Sabatinelli in this regard.
Source: The News