LAHORE - Punjab Health Department has introduced android-based E-vaccs card for updating vaccination record of children during immunisation campaigns.

As a trial, the initiative has been piloted in three districts (Multan, Vehari and Gujranwala). After the completion of the pilot project, the program will be extended to the entire province in phases.

The E-vaccs card is an application conceived by the Expanded Program of Immunisation and developed by the Punjab Information Technology Board by which the vaccinators are able to take photograph of every immunised child and share the complete data with name, age, address, father’s phone number and immunisation history with the server through purpose-built smartphones.

The technology-driven innovation will resolve the long standing issue of card retention, immunisation history, child registration and reporting accuracy to the provincial EPI cell which has been striving hard to achieve at least 90 per cent Routine Immunisation by next two years.

This initiative will help overcome the issue of tracking missed and not available children in the province.

By use of this application, the vaccinator by the time of administering dose, takes a picture of every child from his smart phone and shares the name, photograph, address, contact detail of father/guardian with the main server, where the immunisation history is updated. Through an arrangement with the mobile companies, the child’s father/guardian is communicated the complete schedule of vaccination.

More importantly, a day or two before the next due date of vaccine, an SMS of reminder is sent to parents/guardians.

Director EPI Dr Munir Ahmed said that ensuring reporting accuracy and maintenance of immunisation history has been a challenge in the past. The innovation will help resolve some key issues that required mobilisation of teams for monitoring and accountability.

“This initiative will bring more accountability into the system. We effectively used the smart-phones as a tool of monitoring of staff. With this success, I am optimistic that the dream of at least 90 per cent RI coverage is very much achievable.”

Under the Chief Minister Roadmap Initiative, the health department provided android mobile phone sets to all vaccinators in Punjab and this brings data of campaigns under an integrated database managed by a team of dedicated experts of PITB for better professional efficiency.

Punjab has been able to take lead role in polio eradication efforts. The province accounted for just 1 per cent of polio cases in 2014. This year, no case has been reported from the province so far.

The EPI director further said that strengthening the routine immunisation is the key. “If we are able to take routine immunization to a level where campaigns are no longer needed, I believe it would be our lasting legacy to coming generations. The 90 per cent RI coverage will also mitigate the risks of outbreaks in the province as we have seen in the past few years,” he added.