Mojtaba Haghgou and Hailu Kenea write from Islamabad (Pakistan) and share newspaper clippings on the Federal Vaccine Store in Islamabad.
The Government of Pakistan is committed to improving the quality parameters of the Federal Vaccine Store located in the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad. For this purpose, a team from WHO visited the Store and assisted the EPI staff to identify the gaps, using the new version of the Effective Vaccine Management (EVM) assessment tool. The team has outlined a process to prepare the store for certification by 2010. The newspaper articles attached are the evidence of the seriousness and the commitment of the Ministry of Health and EPI staff to execute this task.
Pakistan, the largest country in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) with over 170 million population, has recently introduced the pentavalent vaccine into the national immunization schedule. A new building has been constructed to accommodate the cold rooms and freezer rooms. Two assessments were made in 2003 and 2007; during both assessments the facilities failed to achieve 80% scores for the WHO/UNICEF Effective Vaccine Store Management (EVSM) criteria. Significant improvements were made in the Store under the leadership of the new management in this year.
All routine vaccines, diluents, different types of OPV for administration during frequent National Immunization Days (NIDs), vaccines for campaigns against measles and tetanus, vitamin A, all injection equipment, spare-parts for all cold chain equipment and all other related supplies for vaccination programmes arrive at this Store and are distributed to the provinces. It should be noted that there is an average of US $ 30 million worth of vaccines alone at any moment in the Store. One estimate shows that over US $ 670,000,000 worth of vaccines and injection equipment (including vaccines for campaigns) will pass through this Store in the next five years, that is provided no new vaccines are introduced during this period. The above figures justify financial investment and focusing all efforts to improve the status of the Federal Vaccine Store in Pakistan.
Plans are underway to purchase and install a wireless temperature monitoring system in the store. Vaccination Supplies Stock Management (VSSM) version 4.0, a stock management tool developed initially by EMRO and fine-tuned by WHO HQs, has already been installed and staff has been trained to use it.
A number of partners are ready to support the implementation of the plan financially and technically, including WHO, UNICEF and JICA. If the national EPI staff maintain the present momentum and implement the plan accurately and on schedule, the Federal Vaccine Store will meet all the listed criteria and can be certified in 2010.