PESHAWAR: A top polio vaccination campaign officer in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has said that the region’s situation this year is better than the last.
“About 27 cases were reported during the first 15 weeks of 2011. In 2012, the number is 15,” Dr Janbaz Afridi, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa director of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, said on Wednesday.
However, he warned that as summer approaches, the number of cases may rise.
He was speaking at a joint press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, where representatives of the EPI, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), World Health Organisation and the National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF) warned that Pakistan could be looking at travel restrictions if the current resurgence of polio persisted.
Pakistan, they said, is among the three countries where the disease still exists as an epidemic. War-torn neighbour Afghanistan and Nigeria are the other two.
Officials said that the polio vaccination campaign that is set to begin in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata on April 23 will aim to reach six million children in the region.
Dr Afridi said that about 5.1 million children will be inoculated against polio in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and a million in Fata. Of these 5.1 million children, 0.15 are Afghan refugees, he said.
He said that about 16,000 teams had been constituted to reach out to children in the province, while 3,000 teams have been formed for the tribal belt.
He also announced support for the Youm-e-Dua call given by the NRDF on Tuesday. The day is to be observed on April 20.
“We aim to reach 10 million people through the Youm-e-Dua and other awareness campaigns,” NRDF project director Muhammad Jalaluddin said.
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