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> Speaker Sindh Assembly to be the Patron of Sindh MPAsí Caucus on promoting immunization in Pakistan

June 16, 2010

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Karachi, June 16: PILDAT has facilitated the establishment of a Caucus of Sindh MPAs on Promoting Immunization under the patronage of Honourable Speaker Sindh Assembly, Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro. Mr. Muhammad Moin Aamir Pirzada MPA (PS-125, Karachi-XXXVII, MQM) Chairman, Standing Committee of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh on Health and Mr. Anwar Ahmed Khan Mahar, MPA (PS-2, Sukkur-cum-Shikarpur (old Sukkur II), PPPP) have taken up responsibilities as coordinators of the Caucus. Ms. Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, MPA (PSW-145, PPPP) Provincial Minister of Women Development also offered her earnest support and facilitation to the Caucus both as a member of the Caucus and in her capacity as a Minister.


In a meeting held in Karachi, the Sindh MPAs gathered together to chalk out the management and administration of the Caucus on Immunization under the facilitation of PILDAT. Members of the Sindh Assembly from major political parties represented in the Provincial Assembly of the Sindh agreed to join hands for a concerted effort to raise awareness about the significance of immunization, fatal consequences of not immunizing children and especially coordinate efforts within their constituencies and the province for an effective immunization programme.


The initial membership of the Caucus includes Haji Munawar Ali Abbasi, MPA, (PS-38, Larkana-cum-Kamber-ShahdadKot (old Larkana-IV), PPPP); Ms. Ayesha Khoso, MPA (PSW-131, PPPP); Ms. Farheen Mughal, MPA, (PSW-140, PPPP); Ms. Najma Saeed Chawla, MPA, (PSW-131, PPPP) and Mr. Muhammad Tahir Qureshi, MPA (PS-111 Karachi XXIII, MQM).


MPAs agreed to convene a larger meeting in the coming weeks to finalise a detailed strategy and plan of action for the caucus.


PILDAT had approached the Sindh Assembly to consider the proposal of forming such a caucus in view of the persistent discovery of Polio cases in Pakistan and lingering misperceptions about the Immunization programmes launched by the Government of Pakistan with the help of international donors. Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director-PILDAT, while giving the background of initiating a Parliamentary Caucus, said that the elected representatives can play a very effective role in the specific context of promoting Expanded Programme on Immunization-EPI. The purpose of the EPI is to initiate a collective effort to reduce the mortality results from the seven (7) EPI target diseases by immunizing children of the age 0-11 months and women of child bearing age. The elected representatives of the people in the Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures can play a very important role in enhancing the understanding and participation of their communities in the EPI initiatives. A committed leadership of legislators can add to the steps towards achieving MDGs as they too can strongly advocate on the issue at the highest level, allocate adequate resources for child health, legislate to ensure universal access to essential care and also oversee the implementation of relevant policies.


A Parliamentary Caucus to Promote Immunization in Pakistan has already been established in the Parliament of Pakistan under the Patronage of Honourable Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Mr. Faisal Karim Kundi, MNA while Dr. Mehreen Razzaq Bhutto, MNA, Parliamentary Secretary on Health is serving as its Convener.


PILDAT is serving as the facilitator of the various multi-party caucuses.