Islamabad: March 9, 2016 - The high level GAVI Mission concluded its weeklong visit today in Islamabad appreciating the efforts of the Government of Pakistan to strengthen Routine Immunization. The Mission had arrived in the country on March 4, 2016 to get appraised of the progress achieved since the High-Level Mission visited last year and to understand current challenges. The Mission visited Punjab to meet high officials. They called on the CM Sindh during the visit of Sindh. The Mission interacted with Health Ministers of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to reiterate partners’ alignment and commitment to strengthen routine immunization.

GAVI Mission highlighted the need of maintaining cold chain and vaccine management system in under privileged areas of the country to ensure optimum utilization of vaccines and to address equity. GAVI Mission also appreciated the progress made by the provinces in improving Routine immunization coverage but stressed on fulfilling the gap of equity in Balochistan, rationalization of human resource in Sindh and uniform progress in urban slums and rural areas of Punjab. Mission also stressed on the maximum operationalization of budget for Immunization on the recurrent side of the health budget.

Minister, National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination appreciated the sustained support of GAVI in the shape of vaccines and grants over a number of years for improving the vaccination services for Pakistani children.

The PC-1 for EPI to chalk out a road map of next five years has been approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council, shared with the high level Mission. With the approval of the PC-1, it was optimistically expressed that the issues of funding for vaccine procurement would be resolved and smooth implementation of the programme in next five years was anticipated.

In the end, minister Health, Saira Afzal Tarar thanked the high level Mission and all global partners to support Pakistan in their efforts to strengthen Routine Immunization in the country.