Technology use improves Vaccination coverage in Punjab to 97 % through e-Vaccs
The real time monitoring data established by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) reports that the use of technology has improved the vaccine coverage from 36 % (2014) to 97 % (2017) in the province of the Punjab.
“The untiring and dedicated efforts of the field workers made the significant improvement possible in Pakistan’s Expanded Program on Immunization and turned around vaccination services through technology”, said Dr. Umar Saif founding Vice Chancellor of Information Technology University (ITU), Chairman PITB and Advisor to the CM Punjab while review the progress here today.
During the review meeting the Chairman PITB was informed that 3,483,105 children were administered 33,478,582 vaccines including BCG, OPV, Measles, Pentavalent and Pneumococcal through 3,774 vaccinators in the 36 districts of the Province of the Punjab. Among these districts the progress noted that Jehlum, Mianwali, Okara, Multan and Attock district covered 100 % vaccination activity and remained at top while Lodhran (85 %), Toba Tek Singh (91 %), (Khanewal 91 %), Gujrat (94 %) and Mandi Bahauddin (94 %) remained at the bottom.
The PITB provided smartphones to the vaccinators with applications to digitize their fieldwork and monitor attendance and performance. The smartphones were used to enter real-time immunization records that were then sent to a centralized database. Attendance of field workers in the Punjab rose from 36% in 2014 to 94% in 2017 and geographical coverage improved from 25% to 97 % in the same period as a result of this intervention. The PITB also replicated this program in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Balochistan. In KPK, vaccinator attendance improved from 34% in August 2016 to 75% in May 2017. Currently, the project is functional in three out of five Pakistani provinces.
According to Pakistan’s Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), 27% deaths among children under five years are caused by diseases that could be prevented through vaccinations. These diseases include Poliomyelitis (also known as Polio), Neonatal Tetanus, Measles, Diphtheria, Pertussis (whooping cough), Hepatitis-B, Hib Pneumonia, Meningitis and Tuberculosis. As part of their mission to eradicate polio, the EPI enlisted the help of the PITB to address vulnerabilities in the program. These relate to less geographic coverage and performance of field vaccinators.