The polio orientation and planning workshop held on March 21st 2015 at Pearl Continental, Karachi was aimed at encouraging President and Assistant Governor Elects (2015 – 2016) of District 3271 to play an active role in the polio eradication program. A similar one for RI District 3272 was held earlier on March 1st in Muzaraffarabad, AJK. The master of ceremonies was the National Chair, PPPC Aziz Memon.
The session was initiated with a tilawat by Chief Zonal Coordinator Sindh PP Masood Bhalli. District Governor Elect (3271) Jehangir Moghul welcomed all Rotarians and distinguished guests and reinforced Rotary International President Elect’s stand on polio, saying it is our ‘First Goal’. The Governor thanked the National Chair for his relentless effort and commitment toward the cause of eradication of polio.
Mr. Aidan O’Leary – Polio Team Lead UNICEF Islamabad made a presentation on “Social Mobilization Strategies and Advocacy”. It aimed at 1) Strengthening Emergency Operations Centre structures and systems at all levels; 2) Shift the polio eradication paradigm from “children covered” to “continuously missed children” and place 3)Place front line workers at the centre of the polio eradication effort”. He also spoke on an enabling environment of the care givers supporting OPV and the perception of community support. He briefed the audience on the importance of contact made by every vaccinator in the field and concluded the presentation with “Regardless of Scenario, Every Vaccination Campaign Comes down To a Single, Critical Touch Point: A Short Personal Interaction With A Vaccinator: Their Success is Our Success.
Dr. Tamesgen Demeke – WHO Sindh, presented the Role of EPI in Sindh. He mentioned, in 2014, Sindh reported 30 confirmed cases, of which 23 surfaced from Karachi and seven from Interior Sindh. Todate, we have four cases from three districts in Northern Sindh but none from Karachi. The strategies in 8 Super High Risk Union Councils (SHRUCS) will be in the form of Community based vaccination in Health Camps and BHUs; Paradigm change from “children covered” to “children missed”; Permanent Transit Point (PTP) Vaccination; Increased pre-, intra- and post-campaign monitoring by all partners and third party. He explained challenges faced by WHO were: 1)quality of SIAs implementation and management 2)Poor coverage, monitoring and supervision in Katcha areas 3)Otaq vaccination 4)Gaps in cross-border coordination with Balochistan and south Punjab, 5)Low routine EPI coverage with minimal outreach services and 6)Inconsistent and suboptimal AFP surveillance performance. He also thanked Rotary’s PNPPC for their continued support in providing PTPs, sponsoring FCV kits and social mobilizing items for their teams.
DGN2 PP Ovais Kohari spoke on Routine Immunization and said that vaccines are the greatest health achievement in the 20th century. However, because of low routine immunization, children are more vulnerable to the polio virus. He briefed the participants on the Operational Components of the Immunization System, elaborating on each one of the component: 1) Vaccine Supply 2) Logistics 3) Surveillance 4) Advocacy & Communication and 5) Service Delivery. He laid emphasis on six key components of the EPI: planning, management, coordination, supervision, training and finance and described it as the ‘Glue’ for success in every campaign. He urged Rotarians to get involved with health facilities and open more Permanent Immunization Centres (PIC) in hospitals and clinics to strengthen routine and make polio eradication their club’s signature project.
Dr. Altaf Bosan – National Technical Consultant, National Polio Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Islamabad, thanked Rotary for their unwavering support in Pakistan. He said that the EOC is established in line with the International Monitoring Board (IMB) which stressed that all activities must have one theme, one umbrella under one person, at the Central and Provincial level. Effort in every way on part of the government is made to stop transmission by end of 2015.
Dr. Noor ul Haq Baloch, Secretary Health Government of Balochistan said if we can eradicate small pox, we can eradicate polio. In 2011 there 73 cases reported from Balochistan but in 2013 there was not a single case reported. He also said, Routine Immunization in Balochistan is 26%, and must be improved. Dr. Baloch said they will apply new strategies at the 1) UC level 2)Role of Community 3)Role of elected local Government bodies (Councilors)4)Polio Plus and 5)Strengthening of RI. He presented the new organogram for EPI and said under his charge, Balochistan will be free of polio very soon.
National Chair, PPPC Aziz Memon thanked the Balochistan Health Secretary for his participation despite his injuries in a car accident last week. The National Chair introduced Salman Ahmed as the Rotary Ambassador and encouraged Rotarians to involve Salman in their polio activities. He appreciated Dr. Jewats poem in Sindhi against polio. The National Chair highlighted Rotary’s Pakistan National Polio Plus Committees contribution in Pakistan in the form of PTPs, PICs, Resource Centers, Cell phone monitoring project involving CMW, partnership with Coca Cola in the RO Filtration plant, Speaking Book project, advocacy and awareness in workshops with Umena’s, students and civil society and holding Health camps in many deserving and needy areas. He emphasized strengthening routine and thanked all the polio partners and the Government for continued struggle to rid the country of this disease.
Mr. Ayub Shaikh, the Federal Secretary Health, Islamabad said ‘we have enough of resources, but we are lacking in dedication and commitment’. He mentioned though the EOC is in place and all effort to achieve success is being made at the Provincial and National level, as well as the Policy level to improve the dynamics of the program in Pakistan. The Federal Secretary said that for the first time after nearly four years, teams were going door to door to vaccinate children in North and South Waziristan after the military operation Zarb e Azab which took place in June 2014. He said the UAE, Islamic Development Bank and Pakistan Army collaboration have energized the Polio campaigns. He also spoke of the GAVI mission in Islamabad two weeks back, who said the program strategy is a very ‘robust one’ He ended by saying, we all need to create our own motivation and lauded Rotary Club of Khipro’s Dr. Jewat Sunder for his tenacity in creating awareness and new concepts to motivate people in improving coverage, monitoring, advocacy and awareness. He concluded by saying ‘motivated people are resourceful people’.
Haji Mohammed Hanif Tayyab – Chair, Polio Ulema Committee, PPPC said Ulemas are instrumental in convincing people of the misconceptions and myths of polio vaccine and bringing down refusals. They mobilize communities through mosques and madrassa. An Ulema Workshop is scheduled on April 5th, in the city of Multan. Rotary has held several Ulema workshops across Pakistan, and will continue to hold them, until we overcome all such families who are against the vaccine.
Tea followed after the Federal Secretary’s speech and a Break Out Session thereafter.
PP Masood Bhali was team leader of Group 1 and PP Dr. Pardeep Kumar the Team Leader for Group 2.
Group 1 – Recommendations – PP Masood Bhali
- Role of a Rotary in the challenge of Polio Eradication in Pakistan was underlined.
- Term missed children was defined for the benefit of the participants. Approaches in this regard were discussed with particular reference to adopting schools to locate missed houses and children with planned assistance of students and teachers of adopted schools.
- Rotaractors and Interactors can be usefully involved in polio eradication.
- Role of Health Camps and procedure for assistance from Polio plus was brought out with clarifications in answer to points raised by participants. It was good to see clear understanding of the matter.
- Point 11 of the working paper was discussed as such with emphasis on efforts to ensure that established centers are working according to their charter and resolving deficiencies if required with the assistance of Polioplus. Opening of new centers to meet the community needs should be considered if feasible with a proposal to Polioplus for getting the act together.
- Rotary Clubs may assist in providing female volunteers in deficient areas.
- Group recommended that provision of articles of social mobilization to Rotary Clubs and Rotarians should be through and in consultation with the club Presidents.
- Areas without electricity such as desert of Tharparkar may be provided with solar refrigerators at vaccine centers.
- Strengthening and support of TPTS may be considered. It is time and cost effective for OPV coverage.
- It was emphasized that collaborations and working relationship with partners would be helpful at the district and taluka level. DHOs, TMOs and WHO rep are important sources. Participation in Dpec and Tpec was important.
- A Rotarian may be nominated. President may request to DCs and ACs to include a Rotarian in the committees if not done.
Group 2 Recommendations PP Dr. Pardeep Kumar
- That President elect will appoint Chairman Club Polio Plus committee and shall report the names of Chairman and members of this committee before 15th April 2015 to DGE 15-16 and Chairman Polio Plus committee
- This committee the will plan different Polio related activities and these will be incorporated in Club Planning guide for the year 2015-16
- Awareness programs regarding Misconceptions about Polio vaccines shall be organized in schools and different communities.
- DGE and PDG Aziz Memon will be requested if Polio Ambassadors, Dr Salman Ahmed and Shahid Afridi and other celebrities can be involved in different club activities in Karachi as well as interior of Sindh.
- PE will ensure to get name of Club Polio chair in DEPEC with DC and DHO .
- The Club Polio Plus chair must visit PPTP once in month, irrespective of which club has sponsored it.
- Inclusion of chapter about Immunization and misconceptions about vaccination in slybuss of Primary schools.
- More cooperation with other agencies involved in Polio eradication
- Recommendation must be sent to Home ministry at Both Provincial and Federal level to direct DCs to take actions against refusals by snatching their NIC, Driving license, blocking of cell phones.
- Different clubs can join to form working groups to work jointly and more efficiently
- Some different angle must be now given to articles of social mobilizations.
- More help and information from district is needed
- At least one permanent center for routine immunization must be included in club planning
- At least two health clubs may be planned in the year 15-16
- Involvement of Rotractors and other younger generation in these activities.
The Chair Literacy Committee PDG Faiz Kidwai presented a shield to Salman Ahmed for his support .
DGN Saleem Rao expressed his appreciation on a large turnover of Rotarians participating from Sindh and Balochistan. He thanked the delegates and PDGs, Rotarians and distinguished guests, and the National Chair for providing a forum to discuss and facilitate the involment of Rotary Clubs.
Report by: Alina A. Visram
Pakistan National PolioPlus Committee, RI