PESHAWAR: The health department is solarising the cold storages for vaccines throughout the province to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply and provide quality immunisation services to the children.
The department is installing the recently-established provincial warehouse with the assistance of UNHCR that will also save cost of fuel presently incurred for using generators.
Officials told Dawn that the cold rooms in the provincial warehouse had been provided by Unicef. The UN agency has also established the district cold rooms.
“In the districts, where we don’t have installed cold room, we have sufficient cold chain equipment to cater to the needs of the target population,” they said. Regarding the benefits of the solarisation, officials said that it would help them in effective maintenance of vaccine cold chain besides ensuring quality of vaccine, enhancement of storage capacity and ensuring continuous vaccine supply that would safeguard the children from the childhood ailments.
UNHCR-funded project to be completed by year end will cut storage cost
“We will soon be shifting to the new provincial warehouse, which will serve as main facility for divisional storage in Kohat, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Mansehra, Peshawar, Malakand, Mardan. Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi have district cold rooms as well,” they said.
They said that it depended on the size of the division and few divisions had two to three cold rooms while some had one but they were planning cold room at each district level. Installation of cold room was a costly exercise and it was completed in phases, they added.
“Now, the provincial warehouse has a capacity of six months storage. The cold rooms will be installed in maximum districts but it depends on a lot of prerequisites like space, high voltage transmission line and uninterrupted electricity supply that’s why in first phase we will solarise the provincial warehouse and the divisional warehouses and later on the district cold rooms,” said the officials.
The solarisation of cold storages will be completed by end of the current year.
Officials said that they had been immunising children up to 23 months against 10 diseases including childhood tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pneumonia, pertussis (whooping cough), Hepatitis-B, meningitis, diarrhoea and measles.
They said that there was no break in routine immunisation as 2,882 technicians were reaching most of the 1.5 million targeted children at 1,270 EPI centres in the province besides carrying out Covid-19-related activities.
To enhance immunisation ratio, they said, the EPI technicians conducted immunisation sessions at the district level where mothers were informed about the significance of immunising during the Covid-19 as a result of which the incidence of childhood diseases decreased.
There is an old warehouse in Pishtakhara locality of Peshawar that is fully functional while the new one is ready for shifting and it is also fully functional.
The new warehouse in Nahaqi will work as provincial warehouse. No decision has been made so far about the warehouse in Pishtakhara but most likely it will work as Peshawar district cold room.
Officials said that immunisation coverage in the province from January to August had improved and the vaccinators were able to provide BCG to 84 per cent children to protect them against childhood TB, Penta-3 to 81 per cent Penta for protection against five diseases including pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis and hemophilus influenza type-B, which caused pneumonia and meningitis and its three injections were given as Penta-1 (6 weeks age), Penta-2 (10 weeks age) and Penta-3 (14 weeks age).
“Coverage for Measles-1 is 81 per cent,” said the officials.
Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2020