KARACHI: A six-day polio eradication campaign has started in Karachi on Monday during which more than 2.2 million children will be administered anti-polio drops in 188 union councils.
Some 9,000 polio workers will take part in the campaign, said Radio Pakistan.
New polio case emerges in Balochistan
Commissioner Karachi Ejaz Ahmad Khan HAS urged the members of Task Force for Elimination of Polio to handle the challenges on a priority basis and to take on board all relevant stakeholders.
Pakistan is one of just three countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria that have endemic polio, a once-common childhood virus that can cause paralysis or death.
However, immunisation efforts have in the past been hampered by militants.
Earlier this month, a polio team was fired upon by unidentified assailants in Quetta’s Shalkot area, leading to the death of two female polio workers. The community health worker, who was killed, was identified as Sakeena. She was accompanied by her daughter, who also died in the attack.
Polio team fired on in Quetta, two female workers killed
“The killings are very, very sad, but they will not have any impact on the eradication campaign because the federal government and all the international partners are fully committed to eradicate polio from Pakistan. We will not be brought down by this,” The Washington Post quoted Aziz Memon, Chairperson of the Pakistan Polio Plus Committee as saying in its report.
Militants in Pakistan repeatedly alleged that the immunisation campaigns are a cover for Western spies.
Police commandos have been deputed at all sensitive union councils (UCs) of Karachi during the ongoing anti-polio campaign, Inspector-General of Police Allah Dino Khawaja said, adding that no compromise will be made regarding security of the anti-polio teams.
"The police department, as a stakeholder, will do its optimum to facilitate the workers," IG Khawaja maintained. In reply to a query, he said personnel in plainclothes had been deputed at each of the sensitive UCs along with commandos. "More than 30 UCs have been identified as sensitive in the provincial capital," the IG declared.
IG Khawaja said there were standing orders for strengthening the cover being provided to the anti-polio teams. He also announced that snap-checking and patrolling by the police will be increased during the campaign.
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