KARACHI: Sindh's Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for polio has started a six-day anti-polio campaign in 17 districts of the province, including six districts of Karachi.
The campaign began on Monday and will run till Saturday in all districts of Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, and Tharparkar.
The EOC has set a target of 4.65 million children for Sindh, of which 2.2 million children are in Karachi's 188 union councils.
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In the metropolis, 5,000 police personnel provided security cover to the anti-polio teams on Monday for the campaign.
EOC Sindh coordinator Dr Fayaz Jatoi appealed to parents to bring forward all their children under five years of age and have them vaccinated, as these back-to-back campaigns are vital for the elimination of the virus in the country.
He remarked that the EOC has been covering Sindh in two phases this time. Northern Sindh has already been completed and now we are targeting central and southern Sindh, he shared.
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At the end of this campaign, we will meet a target of more than eight million children being administered polio vaccines in both the phases, said Dr Jatoi.
"It's the government's target to interrupt circulation of virus in 2017, which is considered a critical year. By doing so, we will be able to obtain the status of a 'polio free country within the next two to three years," he said.
"The persistently missed children are a serious concern as they indicate a lack of awareness and lack of demand for the vaccine amongst parents for their children," he lamented.
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Environmental samples (human as well as soil and water) were regularly recorded as 'polio negative' for several consecutive months in traditional reservoirs in Sindh, which became a progressive trend in 2016, he added.
However, the environmental samples which tested positive for polio in Karachi, one of the largest epidemic blocks in the region, were linked to Quetta, he said.
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