ISLAMABAD: A rare sight: the ministry of health started the three-day nationwide Polio Campaign by vaccinating students in the Montessori branch of Roots School System in F-7/2. Most elite schools, in the past, have not allowed polio teams sent by the government to administer polio drops to children.
An official of the ministry, asking not to be named, told The Express Tribune that they had faced problems in the past accessing children studying in private schools in the capital.
“Some parents prefer to take their children to private clinics and hospitals for the vaccination as they consider it unhygienic for their children to be vaccinated by polio teams,” he added.
Abid Hussain, the regional school manager of Roots, conceded that parents had not wanted their children to be vaccinated by official teams in the past.
“They had some reservations regarding hygiene and quality of the vaccination,” he said, adding that a subsequent campaign by the government had managed to dispel most parents’ misgivings.
Dr Altaf Bosan national head of the polio eradication programme said the reason behind launching the campaign from an elite private school was to gain parents’ trust. A total of 87,994 vaccination teams all over Pakistan are participating in the campaign with 15,748 area supervisors and 2,768 zonal supervisors. The campaign activities will also be monitored by more than 600 monitors countrywide.
Earlier in the day, Federal Health Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin administered polio drops to children during a ceremony at the Montessori.
Shabuddin, in his address, said the government was committed to eradicate polio from Pakistan by 2011. Back in 1994, he said, more than 30,000 children each year were “falling prey” to polio but the number of new cases has fallen significantly in the country.
He concluded, “But I must say here that unless completely eradicated, no child is safe from this virus.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2010.
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