Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho on Thursday sought the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) support for procurement and provision of the best-available Covid-19 vaccine to the underprivileged people in Sindh, saying the vaccine should be available to those who could not afford it, who have comorbidities and who are serving in the health sector of the country.
“We should start preparing a plan for the procurement, storage and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine so that when we have it in our hands, we are able to use it effectively. We need WHO’s assistance in its procurement, storage, cold-chain management and distribution so that we could vaccinate our elderly people and those who have comorbidities but they can’t afford it,” she said while inaugurating the refurbished Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI) centres with the help pf the WHO.
The global health agency has provided six mobile vaccination vans to the EPI Sindh for each district of Karachi which would be used for routine vaccination, provision of health services and nutrition support services.
The WHO has also donated several other vehicles for monitoring activities, refurbished nine vaccination centres in the city and provided a 500-kilovolt generator for uninterrupted power supply to the EPI for maintaining cold chain for the storage of important vaccines in the EPI programme.
Dr Azra thanked the WHO for its support to the Sindh health department, especially during outbreaks and other crisis, and hoped that the international body would continue supporting the people of Sindh in the days to come.
The Sindh health minister maintained that communicable diseases were the largest killer of children under five years in Pakistan, including Sindh, but with the help and support from the WHO, the provincial health department and EPI program were striving for enhancing the vaccination coverage despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
She acknowledged that the WHO provided technical and material support for dealing with the HIV outbreak in Ratodero, Larkana, and added that even in the Covid-19 pandemic, the WHO helped train Sindh’s health staff and provided personal protective equipment.
WHO’s country representative to Pakistan Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala said every time he came to Sindh, he saw improvement in its health sector. “We have refurbished nine vaccination centres in Sindh and are going to refurbish 345 more such centres at the cost of USD1.4 million which is equal to over Rs200 million Pakistani rupees. Today we have donated vans for vaccination in six districts of Karachi and several other vehicles. We would provide mobile vans for all the districts of Sindh while we are donating tons of other material in the health sector,” he said.
Commenting on the importance of vaccination, he said small pox had been eradicated from the world with the help of vaccination and now efforts were under way to eradicate several other diseases in the same manner.