islamabad - The support by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation to strengthen routine immunisation for Pakistan’s children and mothers is likely to be enhanced to $1 billion by the year 2020.

A high-level delegation headed by Anuradha Gupta, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), committed yesterday during a meeting with Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar. The delegation is on a visit to discuss collaboration in strengthening Pakistan’s child immunisation programme.

Immunisation is the most cost-effective intervention which does not require brick and mortar, Anuradha Gupta said adding immunisation is also critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goals. She said the US $835 million worth support was being provided by GAVI to Pakistan for strengthening routine immunisation for children and mothers that is likely to be enhanced to US $1 billion by the year 2020.

Anuradha informed that her organisation was paying special attention to supporting Pakistan’s immunisation program. She pointed out that special attention needs to be given to provision of cold chain for vaccines in underserved areas for improving vaccination coverage.

The minister welcoming the delegation said, “The government recognises that investment into protection of health of women and children is an investment into the future of our country.” The ministry has developed the 10-point mother and newborn child health plan of action in unison with the provincial governments to address major challenges in provision of services and their uptake by the communities. The 10-point vision aims to address all issues related to MNCH in Pakistan especially our priority areas of stillbirth, breast-feeding, immunisation and improving access and quality of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition primary care community based service; informed the minister. She said that a National Immunisation Support Programme has been developed in partnership with all stakeholders to sustain vaccination services in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary Ministry of National Health Services, Muhammad Ayub Sheikh shared. “It is a matter of great satisfaction that we have been able to turn around the supply and management of vaccine and bring it at par with international standards.” These efforts were crowned with success with the recent ISO Certification of EPI vaccine supply and management, he said.

The secretary said the ministry was looking forward to the successful implementation of NISP and the government is also fully committed to ensuring accountability and transparency in the financing mechanism. The vaccine security and delivery up to the end user is the responsibility of the Government that has the crucial role of achieving all the set indicators for routine immunisation, he added.

The visiting delegation includes top functionaries from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO, UNICEF, USAID besides Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.