PESHAWAR: A two-phase polio campaign started in several districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday.
Inter-Provincial Coordination Minster Malik Azmat Khan officially inaugurated the programme by inoculating two children at the Peshawar Press Club. The polio campaign has been jointly organised by the provincial health department, UNICEF and WHO.
“Eradicating polio is the top priority of the government. A special monitoring cell under the Prime Minister’s Secretariat has also been set up which will supervise all programmes,” said Khan.
In the current campaign, 2,872,372 children below the age of five will be vaccinated in selected districts. A total of 3,303,228 Oral Polio Vaccine doses will be given during the two phases.
The first phase of the campaign is scheduled from June 4 to June 6. It will be carried out in nine districts, which include Peshawar, Bannu, Charsadda, DI Khan, Lakki Marwat, Mardan, Hangu, Tank, and Nowshera.
The second phase is scheduled from June 11 to June 13. In this phase, Buner and Kohat will be the target districts of the campaign.
A total of 9,288 teams have been made to carry out the campaign, while 1,833 area in-charges will supervise it.
“The campaign is being carried out in high-risk areas from where the virus can spread to other parts of the province,” WHO official Dr Obaid Ul Islam told journalists.
UNICEF Health Specialist Dr Abdul Jamil said: “We are targeting union councils and including more women in the campaign to improve results.”
EPI Director Janbaz Khan said if all stake holders cooperate, Pakistan will be able to eradicate polio like other developing countries have managed to do so. In February this year, India was officially removed from the list of polio endemic countries.
However in Pakistan, 16 cases of polio have been reported in five months, of which seven are from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and four from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.