PESHAWAR: The Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI) on Saturday decided to pay parents in merged tribal district for vaccinating children against preventable diseases. The payment will cover their visits to the vaccination sites.
The decision was taken to ensure that every child gets vaccinated throughout tribal districts and the visits to the vaccination centre may not become a financial burden on parents. According to Asad Zia, communication officer of the EPI for tribal districts, a fund for this project has been approved and released to the EPI officials in tribal districts.
Zia added that this program covers only children less than two years of age in tribal districts. The parents of the child/children will receive Rs 200 per vaccination visit to the health centre. A child has to make six visits as per EPI schedule but since most of the family in tribal districts are low income.
This step has been taken to motivate the parents and in turn to prevent the children of merged areas from vaccines preventable diseases at the maximum and to reduce mortality and morbidity in children of this deprived region of Pakistan.
Merged Areas Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) Program Manager Dr Sahibzda Muhammad Khalid said that the coverage of routine vaccination is much below the desired level due to recent temporary displacements and repatriation. As it is evident those houses in merged areas are mostly scattered and away from the health facilities and this incentive will at least lessen their financial burden of transportation of children to the health facility for vaccinating their children.
“It will reflect a positive effect on the vaccination coverage on one hand and reduction in mortality and morbidity on the other hand,” program manager said. The program manager shared that it will bring a positive change in the behaviour of the community at large and they will opt to vaccinate their children against the diseases.