Extended Programme for Immunisation (EMI) Additional Director Nazir Hussain said on Sunday 20 polio vaccinators and nine policemen were killed in attacks on vaccination teams in the country in 2013. He said most of the attacks had occurred in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Karachi. He said 75 polio cases were reported in 2013, with six from the Punjab, seven from Sindh, 10 from KP, none in Balochistan and 52 cases from FATA. Nazir Hussain said the World Health Organisation (WHO) bears all mobilisation cost of staffers. He said the UNICEF held seminars and lectures to create awareness about the polio programme. He said the government purchased vaccines from foreign agencies including Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).He said routine immunisation was followed by special campaigns every three months. Commenting on the measles outbreak in 2013, he said 23,477 cases were reported from various parts of the Punjab in 2013 and 192 deaths were reported. He said the government was planning to launch a national anti-measles drive in April in the Punjab.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2014.