Strength in numbers: FCWs to share EPI’s burdens, help eradicate polio by end of 2016


“We plan to hire 350 more FCWs by the end of August and by the end of 2016, we will then have at least 2,000 FCWs,” Afridi told The Express Tribune. “They have done a tremendous job in inoculating children against poliovirus.” PHOTO: AFP/FILE

“We plan to hire 350 more FCWs by the end of August and by the end of 2016, we will then have at least 2,000 FCWs,” Afridi told The Express Tribune. “They have done a tremendous job in inoculating children against poliovirus.” PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PESHAWAR: Officials have said that the number of Female Community Workers’ (FCWs) is being increased to help eradicate poliovirus in the district. This will not only overcome the shortage of staff but will also help make the polio campaigns a success. Officials hope that poliovirus will be completely eradicated from the province by the end of 2016.

Health officials said the department was facing an acute shortage of the staff members and could not assign staff for polio campaigns alone. Authorities previously decided to separate polio workers from technicians involved in Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI).

Following concerns expressed by health professional dealing with child diseases, EPI technicians will perform their core duties. These include immunising children against various diseases while workers involved in polio programmes, will only concentrate on that particular campaign. The plan, however, materialised only in one polio campaign and that too in a few districts. It could not be expanded to the whole province due to a variety of reason, including the shortage of the EPI staff in different districts.

“It has, without any doubt, compromised EPI staff members core job and children are falling prey to other diseases including measles since EPI technicians have been working on polio campaigns and other diseases could not be countered,” a senior health official said.

He said it would not have been a problem had there been a polio campaign once a month or after two months. However, since the virus has become a serious threat, all the attention has been diverted towards eradicating it.

When contacted, EPI Deputy Director Hameed Afridi said there was shortage of staff but the government approved the regularisation of 1,080 staff members and 500 non-permanent staff members will be hired under the integrated programme.

He said since the partners made recruitments, different districts have hired different number of staff members. He added that they have not only involved EPI staff members but also.

“We plan to hire 350 more FCWs by the end of August and by the end of 2016, we will then have at least 2,000 FCWs,” Afridi told The Express Tribune. “They have done a tremendous job in inoculating children against poliovirus.”

Besides FCWs, in 2015 the government launched an initiative called Continuous Community Protected Vaccination (CCPV) where permanent health workers who carried out door-to-door vaccination campaigns in Peshawar, Bannu, Tank, Khyber Agency, Frontier Region Bannu and North Waziristan Agency for the September round of the polio drives.


Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1153801/strength-numbers-fcws-share-epis-burdens-help-eradicate-polio-end-2016/