KARACHI: A four-day polio vaccination drive was launched in all six districts of Karachi, Hyderabad and Kotri tehsil of Jamshoro on Monday.
The 'sub-national polio supplementary immunisation campaign' in Karachi, being supervised by the emergency operation centre (EOC) for polio, was formally launched by commissioner Asif Hyder Shah when he administered polio drops to children at a maternity home in PIB Colony.
The commissioner appealed to parents to have polio drops administered to their children under the age of five years. He urged them to have the drops re-administered in case their kids have received doses before to enhance the vaccine's influence. The future of the nation's children is linked to the polio campaign, he claimed.
A helpline, 1299, has also been established at the commissioner office and will be functional round the clock, he informed, asking the public to inform his office if polio teams do not reach their area.
During the present campaign, over 2.2 million children in Karachi and 0.31 million in Hyderabad will be administered polio drops. Effective security measures have been taken to ensure the safety of volunteers and health workers, said an EOC official.
A total of 6,200 health workers will be performing their duty in Karachi's 188 union councils. To ensure their security, the police have provided 5,000 personnel.
The campaign will also be launched in 14 districts of interior Sindh from April 25 till April 30, with an aim to target 6.38 million in the entire province.
A campaign to immunise children against polio using the inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) will be launched in the second week of May in certain high-risk areas of Karachi to cover the entire population, said the EOC official.
While talking to the media, the commissioner said "This year the target to eliminate polio from Pakistan has been set and all stakeholders are trying hard to make the country polio free." He claimed that the percentage of those who could not be administered polio drops as well as refusal cases has significantly decreased. Shah added that the help of religious scholars and local leaders has been sought to reach all those who had earlier refused to administer drops to their children.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2016.
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