Sindh’s vaccination campaign kicks off amid workers’ strike

Sources say 138 vaccinators, 928 lady health workers have boycotted vaccination drive in Larkana district

Sindh Government’s campaign against measles and rubella launched today from November 15-27 to vaccinate children aged between nine months and 15 years against these diseases that people have suffered from in the Larkana District.

On the first day, since the vaccinators had been on strike for over two weeks, many vaccination centres remain closed, sources disclosed to Minute Mirror.

The sources further added that the EPI vaccination centre established at the Chandka Children Hospital also remained closed much before the drive due to the strike by vaccinators. All the parents who brought their newborns for vaccination were either asked to return home or redirected to contact the district health officer’s (DHO’s) office for further details.

Vaccinators also held a protest demonstration outside the children hospital to raise their concerns. A few doctors posted at Chandka Children Hospital told this scribe that the vaccination system seemed to be a failure because outbreaks of measles, diphtheria and other vaccine-preventable diseases erupted from time to time. They added if a system was run correctly, there would be no need for such campaigns, but due to maladministration, inefficiency and mismanagement all government efforts to eradicate these diseases seemed insufficient.

When contacted, DHO Larkana Dr Muhammad Akbar Daoodani said that more than 40 percent of vaccination work had been affected due to the strike. He said talks with the agitating employees were underway at the higher level and hoped things would be clear tonight. He said 46 union councils were to be covered in Larkana, and they had tried to deploy vaccination teams everywhere so that no child was left behind. He said the strike was throughout Sindh, except for a few districts, so work was bound to be affected due to a shortage of required staff.

In this regard, when Larkana Division Health Services Director Dr Rustom Ali Bhutto was contacted, he said that vaccinators and lady health workers (LHWs) had joined hands and were on strike but, he added, they would achieve their target of vaccinating 39 percent of the population as surveyed earlier. He hoped vaccination of 654,115 children of the Larkana district would be performed. He said they hoped to achieve vaccination targets of 572,551 children in Kambar-Shahdadkot district, 523,752 in Shikarpur, 427,498 in Jacobabad and 470,092 in Kashmore district.

Credible sources said that 138 vaccinators and 928 LHWs in the Larkana district boycotted the campaign. Their main demands included giving them promotions and regularising services of 334 vaccinators who were terminated on a court order.

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