The Lahore High Court on Monday directed the executive district officer (health) to present samples of the cool boxes and vials being used by the Health Department for administering polio vaccine.
Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandail issued the order while hearing a petition alleging that the government was not meeting the standards for storing polio vaccine.
When proceedings started on Monday, petitioner Rana Ijaz said that the government had failed to eradicate polio because it was not following international standards while storing and transporting the vaccine. He said the vaccine became ineffective because of “substandard storage measures”. The vials used were also substandard, he added.
A provincial law officer challenged the petitioner, saying he was levelling allegation and had no evidence to substantiate his claims. The chief justice remarked that the case was of public interest and the court wouldn’t ignore it. He then directed the EDO concerned to present a cool box and a vial in the court so that it could be checked.
Counsel for the Health Department presented a report, which said that the government had made all arrangements necessary for retaining the efficacy of the polio vaccine.
The petitioner has said that the government had failed to legislate on polio. He said the absence of legislation is one of the reasons the anti-polio campaigns continued to fail. He has pointed out in the petition that more than 16 cases of polio have been reported in 2012 across the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2012.