Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI)
Established in 1978, the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) currently aims to vaccinate approximately Six million children aged 0-11 months against nine target diseases (Childhood Tuberculosis, Poliomyelitis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus Influenza Type b, Pneumonia, Measles) and the pregnant ladies against Tetanus
Since the launch of the programme, the implementation of immunization activities has been carried out by the provinces themselves. The role of federal cell was only restricted to the provision of policy and technical guidelines, coordination for international assistance, surveillance and monitoring. Additionally, the programme also facilitated provincial health departments by procurement and supply of requisite vaccines and other logistics.
In pursuance of 18th Constitutional Amendment, Ministry of Health was abolished and vertical Programmes including EPI were devolved to provinces. However, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) in its meeting held on 28th April 2011 inter-alia decided that the Federal Government will continue to finance these programmes till the next National Finance Commission (NFC) award. Accordingly, the federal EPI cell continues to be financially supported through the federal PSDP regularly at the 2010-11 levels. The resources provided therein are primarily used to procure and supply the vaccines, syringes, safety boxes and other logistics needed by the provincial and areas to vaccinate their target populations. Nevertheless, the provinces and areas through respective EPI programme units are themselves responsible to manage the operational cost of the immunization activities at the provincial and district levels.
Reduction of mortality and morbidity resulting from the Nine EPI target diseases by immunizing children of the age 0-11 months and women of child bearing age.
Targeted 9 Vaccine Preventable Diseases
The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) focuses on the following 9 deadly Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) in Pakistan
- Neonatal Tetanus
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- Hib Pneumonia
- Childhood Tuberculosis
The diseases are preventable and can be eradicated like Smallpox, as very safe & effective vaccines are available.27 % of deaths in < 5>
Sources of Funding
Though the routine reporting from provinces and areas indicates an overall coverage of about 80%; the recently concluded Pakistan Demographic Household Survey (PDHS) 2012-13 however depicted overall national full child vaccination coverage of only 53.8%.
- The annual PSDP allocation for EPI stands at Rs. 2,792.693 million having a foreign exchange component of Rs.477.000 million coming as GAVI assistance.
- Additionally the GAVI Alliance also provides substantial in kind assistance in the shape of Pentavalent and Pneumococcal vaccines with corresponding quantities of syringes and safety boxes. Specifically for 2013, the GAVI support in this context was approx. 107.9 Million USD (93%) whereas the Government of Pakistan is required to co-finance only about 7% share
Province wise coverage is follows:
- Punjab: 65.6%
- Sindh: 29.1%
- KP: 52.7%
- Balochistan: 16.4%