Sindh govt seeks WHO help for coronavirus vaccination

Published December 11, 2020
A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech  Covid-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London on Dec 8. — AP/File
A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London on Dec 8. — AP/File

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Thursday sought the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to meet the upcoming challenges of vaccination for coronavirus prevention in the province and asked it to assist the local authorities from procurement of the vaccines to their storage and from cold-chain management to their distribution.

The proposal to the WHO was made by Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho while inaugurating the refurbished Expanded Programme on Immunisation centres, provision of six vaccination vans, vehicles and other equipment to the EPI Sindh by the WHO. The health minister said the support of a body like WHO was crucial to make the Covid-19 vaccines available to people who could not afford it.

“We should start preparing a plan for the procurement, storage and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine so we can execute the best possible operation of vaccination in an effective way,” she said. “We need WHO’s assistance in its procurement, storage, cold-chain management and distribution so that we could vaccinate our elderly people, who have comorbidities [and] can’t afford it. We don’t want anyone to be missed.”

World health body donates six mobile vaccination vans to EPI for Karachi districts

The ceremony was held at the EPI, where the WHO donated six mobile vaccination vans to the EPI Sindh for each district of Karachi which would be used for routine vaccination, provision of health and nutrition support services. The WHO also donated several other vehicles for the monitoring activities, refurbished nine vaccination centres in the city and provided a 500kV generator for uninterrupted power supply to the EPI for maintaining cold chain for the storage of important vaccines in the EPI programme.

“The communicable diseases are really fatal among children under five years of age in Pakistan, including Sindh, but with the help and support of the WHO, the provincial health department and EPI programme are striving to enhance vaccination coverage despite Covid-19,” added the health minister.

WHO country representative and head of mission to Pakistan Dr Palitha Mahipala said he was impressed with the improving health facilities in Sindh. He vowed to continue supporting the people of Sindh dealing with disease outbreaks while providing them vaccination and other health services.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2020

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