Tuesday, February 7

BISP launches Conditional Cash Transfer Programme for Immunization of Beneficiaries in Gilgit-Baltistan in collaboration with EPI

Islamabad, March 21, 2018 (PPI-OT):Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) today signed a landmark agreement for immunization of BISP beneficiaries in Gilgit-Baltistan region. The partnership is expected to directly benefit 5,000 BISP beneficiaries and 9,000 children in 4 districts of GB. The beneficiaries will be immunized and incentivized for their participation under a new grant from World Bank, amounting to US$3.5 Million. The meeting was jointly chaired by Federal Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon.

Mrs. Tarar said that EPI programme has achieved several milestones on the supply side with regard to provision of immunization services but the demand still requires more miles to go for enhancing the Routine Immunization coverage. In this context she said that “interventions like Conditional Cash Transfer would help to increase the demand of routine immunization among the people, particularly the poor segment of the population in Pakistan.” She further highlighted that in wake of the recent polio case reported from Diamir district in 2017, based on site readiness assessment and analyses of immunization data, the GB region was selected for piloting the CCT initiative. Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon said that “this is the second conditional cash transfer programme being launched by BISP.

She added that the social mobilization programme of Waseela-e-Taleem initiative was launched in five districts initially to pilot it and it has been extended to 50 districts across Pakistan. She hoped that this programme will be able to extend to other regions on the success of its pilot phase. The evidence from across the globe suggests that schemes like Conditional Cash Transfers improve uptake of health services like immunization among poorest of the poor communities. The purpose of the agreement is to increase the uptake of immunization among the underprivileged pregnant mothers and children between 0-23 months in selected districts through a conditional cash transfer program. Initially, the scope of the Project shall be limited to the region of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The activities under this partnership include necessary trainings and drills for skill development to EPI and BISP staff on EPI’s immunization services, delivery of quality immunization services, in particular availability of relevant vaccines, trained EPI staff and equipment to ensure effective cold chain. The partnership will also focus on implementation of Environment and Social Management Plan (ESMP), particularly infection control and waste management protocols.

It will involve training to the relevant staff for ESMP implementation. According to this partnership, BISP will identify possible beneficiaries that satisfy the ‘Eligibility Criteria’ through the National Socio-Economic Registry. It will also mobilize beneficiaries systematically, in coordination with EPI. It will include awareness of BISP Beneficiary Committees to involve the beneficiaries at grassroots level.

The activities will include enrolment, compliance monitoring and verification of the process. Moreover, grievance redressal and case management mechanisms will be set-up at the designated centers for services related complaints and appeals. The partnership will also lead to development andmaintenance of the Management Information Systems (MIS) including the monitoring and reporting framework for the Project. This includes populating the MIS and maintaining beneficiary lists. It will also include electronically recorded required data for immunization record.

On the occasion, Secretary BISP Mr. Omar Hamid Khan said that the initiative defines themultidimensional efforts being undertaken for supporting rural and poverty stricken communities. He also hoped that the new CCT programme will assist the government in achieving the global SDGs of health and provide immunization to the communities who need it the most and reside in the farthest areas of country. Expanded Programme on Immunization was launched in 1978 and working under Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (MNHSR and C).

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