Vaccine coverage for nine diseases increased by 20 pc: Saira Afzal

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APP35-08 ISLAMABAD: June 08 - Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar addressing a press conference. APP

ISLAMABAD, June 8 (APP): Minister of State for National Health
Services and Regulations Saira Afzal Tarar Thursday said the government
improved its immunization programme and streamlined the affairs of councils
working under the health ministry.
Speaking at a press conference here, she said due to coordinated
efforts of the federal and provincial governments the cases of polio were
reduced from 360 to only two.
She said when she took charge of the health ministry, scandals were
rife and mismanagement marred performance of the health institutions.
She told that the federal health budget was increased by 77 percent
from Rs 32 billion to Rs 54.4 billion.
The government undertook the restructuring of Extended Programme
of Immunization (EPI) and brought improvement in procurement and storage
of vaccines.
Vaccine coverage for nine diseases increased by 20 percent, she added.
The federal government distributed 7.5 million doses of vaccines
among the provinces every year, she said adding the ministry set up a state-of-the-art storage facility to control temperature of the vaccines.
GAVI, the global vaccine alliance has appreciated improvement in
vaccination drive of Pakistan, the minister informed.
The Rs 16 million was allocated for provision of refrigeration
facilities in provinces, the minister added.
Through successful negotiations with World Bank, the government was
able to secure $180 million for sustainability of Pakistan’s immunization
programme for mothers and children, the minister added.
She said the ministry saved Rs 1.8 billion in buying of vaccines by
inviting UNICEF and more pharmaceutical companies for a transparent
bidding.
Vaccines for ROTA and pneumonia and intravenous vaccine for polio
were added to the EPI programme.
Another significant achievement of the government was streamlining
the affairs of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), and councils of
Tibb, pharmacy and nursing, Saira mentioned.
The minister said free and fair elections for board of PMDC was held
and PMDC checked the mushroom growth of medical colleges.
The heads of councils were appointed on merit and a transparent list
was posted on the website after including names of all of the registered
homeopaths for holding of a fair election of Tibb Council.
She said a PhD nurse was appointed as President Nursing Council for
the first time and online and same day registration of nurses was ensured.
Saira said at present Pakistan has two important posts in
international health bodies including World Health Organization and GAVI.
Pakistan chairs the executive board of WHO and has a seat on the
board of GAVI, she added.