Peshawar: Under the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), authorities in Pakistan have decided to pay parents in merged tribal districts for vaccinating their children against diseases.

The decision was taken to ensure every child get vaccinated throughout tribal districts, a press release issued on Saturday said, while for this purpose fund has been allocated and released for the all the children of Merged Areas under two years of age who will opt for routine vaccination.

Parents will receive Rs200 (Dh4.9) per vaccination, per child, for up to six visits as per EPI schedule.

This step has been taken to motivate parents and in turn to prevent the children of Merged Areas from contracting diseases that can be prevented through immunisation, as well as to decrease child death rates in this marginalised region of Pakistan, officials said.

Merged Areas Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) Programme manager Dr Sahibzda Mohammad Khalid said coverage of routine vaccination is far below the desired level due to recent temporary displacements and repatriation.

Houses in merged areas are mostly scattered and away from the health facilities, the official said, and this incentive will at least lessen the financial burden of transporting children to the health facility for vaccinating children.

“It will have a positive effect on the vaccination coverage on one hand, and reduction in mortality and morbidity on the other hand,” the programme manager said.

The programme manager said it would bring a positive change in the behavior of community at large and many would opt to vaccinate their children against diseases.