Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza has stressed that it is a high time to mainstream the universal Immunization agenda through engaging national and provincial leaders and policy makers.

He stated this while chairing a high powered meeting of the National Inter-Agency Coordination Committee held in the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination on Saturday. The meeting was attended by Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Parliamentary Secretary NHSR&C, Federal and Provincial Managers-EPI and representatives of the development partners (WHO and UNICEF representatives).

SAPM on Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza said, “To win political support and ownership at national and provincial level, advocacy supported by evidence and data is needed.”

The meeting was organized in the backdrop of the visit of the Joint Supervision, Evaluation and Monitoring (JSAEM) mission to Pakistan (Gavi, World Bank, BMGF, USAID, UNICEF-ROSA and KfW) which was in the country for the past two weeks holding extensive deliberations with the provincial EPI programmes and their respective planning and finance departments. The mission apprised the minister NHSR&C on their findings of the visit and shared key recommendations towards reaching the unvaccinated children in Pakistan. The mission members also stressed the Federal and Provincial programmes to ensuring sustainable financing through the National and provincial recurrent budgets for procurement of the vaccines and delivery of un-interrupted immunization services across the country.

The meeting highlighted the need for achieving universal immunization coverage across the country as a priority. 

On the occasion, the National Program Manager, EPI presented the targets set by provinces and areas for achieving Universal Immunization. He also shared the determination of the programme in achieving the set targets.

Senior Country Manager, Gavi, briefed the Minister on behalf of the Alliance partners and Mission members regarding the progress made so far in immunization programme. While debriefing the SAPM he underscored the need of expansion of fixed sites, improving micro-planning and quality of outreach services and highlighting the need to generate demand for immunization services.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Zafar Mirza said, “Universal Immunization is the only option. Let us set our clear vision. We need to get out of our comfort zone to ensure no child is left behind.”