PESHAWAR: The provincial government has devised a fresh strategy whereby every single child from high-risk union councils will be registered with the health department. This has been done in view of recent sewerage samples which tested positive for poliovirus.
The data, once compiled, will be used for polio campaigns in future to enable those involved in polio drives to identify the missing children. At the same time, it will also help those involved in routine immunisation.
Officials told The Express Tribune on Sunday the data will be shared with EPI officials so that it could be used for routine immunisation.
“We will be sharing it to improve routine immunisation since many children do not get vaccinated against different diseases,” a senior health official said.
Officials involved in polio campaigns said some 50 union councils were earlier termed as high-risk UCs and all the data on children was compiled by the field staff. He added 10 more UCs were later included. However, with the sewerage samples testing positive for poliovirus, the programme officials further widened it and all the UCs were included.
“Now we have all the 97 UCs on record and we are going ahead to register every single child so that those missing could be identified since we register children by name,” he said.
“Once registered, the data will be shared with the EPI officials to be used for routine immunisation.”
He said routine immunisation coverage was around 54% and many children fall victim to different viruses posing serious threats to lives of children. He added that with the data available, the field staff involved in Community Based Vaccination (CBV) will be immunising each and every child.
“Once you have all the record available, those involved in CBV will be chasing children and will be immunising them against different diseases,” the official added.
Another official, who requested anonymity and is part of the polio drives, said it was something difficult to identify missing children in urban areas since movement could not be recorded. However, he said staff members did not face any problem in rural areas.
“We have female community workers who serve in their own locality and have knowledge about the surroundings,” he said.
The official added the staff members faced problems due to rapid movement in urban areas.
“With a recent survey carried out, we came to know that around 0.2 million children could not be inoculated against any disease.”
The official maintained some 1,880 female workers were involved in collecting data of the children with around 500 as their supervisors.
The data is being collected as preparation for a polio campaign where children will be inoculated against the crippling virus.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2016.