Govt to expand immunisation programme

Kathmandu, January 28:

The government is introducing Health System Support (HSS) from this April to increase coverage of immunisation programmes from its present 84 per cent to 100 per cent by 2015.

The immunisation programme has been covered by the Immunisation System Support (ISS) since 2000 but research show unless the health system is strengthened, the ISS alone cannot increase the coverage.

Dr Shyam Raj Upreti, chief of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, told this daily that the HSS is being introduced to expand immunisation programmes especially for measles and DPT 3.

The HSS would concentrate more on organisational development, infrastructure such as modern and well-equipped refrigerator and capacity building of human resources.

It is not possible to increase the coverage of immunisation, as only 33 districts have ideal medical stores with good refrigerators, Dr Upreti said. “Only vaccines won’t help, delivery of health care system is equally important which we are hoping will be possible with HSS.”

“We need $4 million annually for HSS programme,” he said.

Arjun Bahadur Singh, spokesperson at the Health Ministry, said that the HSS has to be introduced to achieve the goal of the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation (GAVI). The government is looking for adequate funds for the programme, he said.

Last week, a GAVI technical group gave green signal to the preliminary proposal submitted by a team headed by Health Minister Amik Sherchan.

According to Singh, the GAVI team has focused on HSS with two major components — improvement in under-five child mortality rate and increase in the coverage of Measles and DPT 3 vaccination.

“The ministry is sending the proposal to GAVI in the first week of February and we have included all the major components for the effectiveness of the HSS,” said Singh.

The GAVI provided over $2 million for ISS during a period of five years beginning 2000.