Private hospitals in eight high-risk UCs lack routine immunisation services, moot told.

KARACHI -- A significant number of children in the city's eight high-risk union councils still fail to receive any routine vaccination. This gap can be plugged by actively engaging private healthcare facilities in these areas, the majority of which do not offer preventive services.

This information was shared during a meeting organised by Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Sindh for the formal launch of a project partnered with Aga Khan University (AKU).

The meeting presided by health minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho was attended by experts representing AKU, WHO, Unicef, parliamentary health secretary Qasim Siraj Soomro, health secretary Zulfiqar Shah and EPI director Dr Irshad Memon, among others.

The project aims to plug gaps in the government's immunisation infrastructure and develop a network of social mobilisers to increase immunisation coverage in targeted areas of high immunisation refusals in Karachi; Yousuf Goth, Safoora Goth, Maymarabad, Gulzar-i-Hijri, Baloch Goth, Pehalwan Goth, Frontier Colony and Qasba.

Giving a presentation on the project, Prof Shehla Zaidi shared its key features and its progress since last year.

She described healthcare facilities as 'a missed opportunity' given the fact that they provided little routine immunisation services, though their role in healthcare was critical.

'Fifty-seven to 80 per cent of births and close to 70pc of outpatients are reported at private facilities so there is a major missed opportunity if this patient traffic is not utilised for better immunisation,' she noted.

Under the project, she told the meeting, eight high-risk union councils with 18 accredited private EPI centres were being targeted.

'The project scope includes a robust outreach network and reporting to the...

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