Government draws flak for immunisation staff reduction

Kathmandu, August 9

Vaccination supervisors and officers have expressed serious concern about the government’s decision to reduce the posts of employees for immunisation programmes.

They have also submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Health and Population demanding that the absence of adequate employees would have a negative impact on the government’s immunisation campaigns.

????  According to Om Prasad Upadhyay, immunisation officer at vaccine cold chain management section, Ministry of Health and Population has reduced the posts of vaccination officers from vaccination, leprosy and tuberculosis, Malaria and Kala-azar and family planning units.

“The ministry has slashed the posts of drug manager, pharmacy officer, immunization officer, cold chain officer, mechanical engineers, electronics engineer at the Central Vaccine Store,” he said. Only three cold chain officers have been retained at the Central Vaccine store. Likewise, posts of 80 officers and supervisors have been slashed at the district and local levels, he added.

Upadhyay said the immunisation programme was one of the priority programmes of the government. Currently, eleven antigens are provided through the national

programme to  infants, children and mothers through more than 16,000 outreach sessions, including in geographically and economically hard-to-reach and marginalised communities. “Since 1991, 200 specialist vaccination supervisors and officers have been working in this field,” he said.

Apart from the Central Vaccine Store, there are 75 district vaccination stores, 1,600 vaccine service centres and 200 sub-stores across the country. “Vaccine stores are very sensitive as temperature has to be maintained. Experts are needed as a mistake can damage the vaccines,” said Updhyay.