Azra Pechuho holds meeting with Dr Shehla Zaidi

MN Report 11:29 PM, 16 Aug, 2022
Azra Pechuho holds meeting with Dr Shehla Zaidi

KARACHI: Azra Fazal Pechuho, Minister for Health and Population Welfare, Sindh, held a meeting with Aga Khan University’s senior project lead, Dr Shehla Zaidi, on how to engage better private providers in immunisation as well as preventative healthcare. 

The meeting was attended by representatives of AKU, Zulfiqar Shah and Qasim Siraj Soomro. 

In the meeting, Azra Pechuho stated that covering all birthing stations is a priority for the goal of immunisation and that while the Sindh Government can provide the vaccines free of cost, external support is required in hiring and training more vaccinators. 

Dr Shehla Zaidi presented the positives of private providers administering the vaccines as they can provide this service after business hours. There is more trust in private providers, so their target base is more comprehensive, and as this project is with AKU, the service will be sustained, unlike NGOs that depend on donors and grants. 

Azra Pechuho said that the EPI is working on extending their hours to accommodate better the working population that may not be able to access the health centres before 5 pm. 
Dr Shehla Zaidi informed the meeting that those handling babies would be registered under this project, and EPI will train them to provide the birth dose vaccine and the follow-up vaccines. 

Communication and counselling are one of the areas where there needs to be more focus, the Minister for Health added, as parents must be informed what the vaccine is for and what its side effects can be. There must be proper counselling, and feedback should be taken from the parents so that it can be registered what is causing refusals, what can be done better on the part of the service providers, and whether the parents will be returning for follow-up vaccines for their children. 
The project will target eight high-risk UCs, and 18 accredited private EPI centres in refusal areas; every centre will have its own outreach network where they will recruit community influencers, and the reporting will be done with the EPI registry.