The health department is “solarising” the cold storages for vaccines throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply and provide quality immunisation services to the children.
The department is installing the recently-established provincial warehouse with the assistance of the UN that will also save cost of fuel presently incurred for using generators.
Officials said that the cold rooms in the provincial warehouse had been provided by Unicef.
The UN agency has also established the district cold rooms.
“In the districts, where we don’t have an installed cold room, we have sufficient cold chain equipment to cater to the needs of the target population,” they said.
Regarding the benefits of the solarisation, officials said that it would help them in effective maintenance of the vaccine cold chain besides ensuring quality of the vaccine, enhancement of storage capacity, and ensuring continuous vaccine supply that would safeguard children from the childhood ailments.
“We will soon be shifting to the new provincial warehouse, which will serve as main facility for divisional storage in Kohat, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Mansehra, Peshawar, Malakand, and Mardan. Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi have district cold rooms as well,” they said.
They said that the number of cold rooms depended on the size of the division, with some divisions having two to three cold rooms, while some have just one, the plan is to have a cold room at each district level.
The installation of a cold room is a costly exercise and was completed in phases, they added.
The solarisation of cold storages will be completed by the end of the current year.
Officials said that they had been immunising children aged up to 23 months against 10 diseases: childhood tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pneumonia, pertussis (whooping cough), Hepatitis-B, meningitis, diarrhoea, and measles.
They said that there has been no break in routine immunisation, with 2,882 technicians reaching most of the 1.5mn targeted children at 1,270 centres in the province, on top of carrying out coronavirus-related activities.
To enhance the immunisation ratio, they said, the technicians conducted immunisation sessions at the district level, where mothers were informed about the significance of immunising during the coronavirus pandemic, as a result of which the incidence of childhood diseases decreased.
There is an old warehouse in the Pishtakhara locality of Peshawar that is fully functional, while the new one is ready for shifting and is also fully functional.
The new warehouse in Nahaqi will work as provincial warehouse.
No decision has been made so far about the warehouse in Pishtakhara, but most likely it will work as Peshawar district cold room.
Officials said the immunisation coverage in the province from January to August had improved and that the vaccinators were able to provide the BCG vaccine to 84% of children to protect them against childhood tuberculosis, Penta-3 to 81% of children for protection against five diseases (pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis and haemophilus influenza type-B).
“Coverage for measles is 81%,” said the officials.
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