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'EPI cost effective preventive health measure'.

Islamabad -- Federal Minister of National Health Services (NHS) on Tuesday stressed upon the need of strengthening Expanded Program Immunization (EPI) as the most cost effective preventive health measure.

Federal Minister Aamer Mehmood Kiani said this in a high powered meeting held here.

Minister said that the government plans to increase health sector budget to fill the financial gaps and expedite fund flow to provinces for smooth conduct of EPI program activities in the country.

The meeting was attended by Additional Secretary Health, Mr. Iqbal Durrani, National Program Manager EPI, Dr.Syed Saqlain Ahmad Gilani, Provincial EPI Managers and officials.

The Joint Supervision, Appraisal and Evaluation Mission of GAVI multi donors debriefed the Minister on the week long review of the Federal and Provincial EPI Program. Mission members included representatives from GAVI, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, USAID, UNICEF and WHO.

Representatives of the Mission appreciated Pakistan's overall performance in achieving the milestone of successful Measles SIAs throughout the country to reduce disease burden.

Members appreciated the increase in immunization coverage as reflected by PDHS survey 2017/18 but bureaucratic bottlenecks needs to be addressed to expedite funds flow for smooth operations. All policies and strategies should then be aligned accordingly by utilizing the quality data and evidence for decision making. Mission members urged the new government to promote EPI program as an integral part of regular health budget instead on a project mode and a major component of an overall primary health structure within a wider health system. Members stress upon the need of clear strategies, effective operational plans to reach out to marginalized population for EPI service and improved strategies for demand creation based on data and evidence.

Additional Secretary Mr. Iqbal Durrani in his closing remarks assured full support of the Ministry in streamlining the EPI program and addressing issues including swift fund flow and stern mechanism of monitoring and accountability.

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Publication:The Nation (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Nov 21, 2018
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