The World Health Organization has announced that it will pay front-line polio eradication workers directly in 10 districts in the upcoming Septembersubnational immunization days. This direct disbursement mechanism (DDM) is part of efforts to better reward and motivate vaccinators and other field workers who face challenging operational, political and social circumstances in their efforts to reach every child with polio vaccine. The DDM was set up to ensure that these workers have quick and easy access to their payments upon completion of the vaccination rounds. Historically, vaccinators, area in-charges and union council medical workers had expressed frustration due to delays in their payments, which also affected worker morale.
With the successful execution of DDM in July’s campaign, when more than 85% of polio workers were paid on time, WHO is seeking to expand this programme nationwide to ensure that the field teams efforts are shown appreciation in a timely manner. In September, 8966 vaccinators, 852 area in-charges and 204 union council medical officers from Vehari (Punjab), Hyderabad (Sindh), Charsadda, Kohat and Nowshera (KP), Pishin and Qillah Abdullah (Baluchistan) and ICT will access their payments directly. Ultimately, all polio workers across Pakistan should have access to the DDM payment mode.
In addition to directly benefiting polio workers, DDM allows the government and stakeholders to closely monitor progress during polio campaigns, including full information on the ages of the monitors, the number of training sessions undertaken and the number of days of active participation in the campaign. This accountability is a key element of the emergency strategies currently in place to stop polio in Pakistan and globally.