Anti-polio drive kicks off

Eight union councils in Karachi marked as ‘high-risk’ areas

Our Correspondent ​ June 08, 2021
A health worker administers oral polio vaccine to a child at a slum in Karachi during the week-long inoculation drive which kicked off on Monday. PHOTO: APP


Poliovirus cases count in Sindh remains zero, so far this year, as compared with 22 cases in 2020, said Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the launch of one-week polio vaccination drive on Monday.

The chief minister administered oral polio vaccine (OPV) drops to children and gave them gift packs at Government Dispensary, Sultanabad.

Later talking to the media he said Pakistan was one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with Afghanistan, however, owing to repeated inoculation drives only one child contracted the disease in 2021. The lone case was reported from Balochistan.

Tanking to the media at the launch of province-wide drive Shah said that the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for polio was launching vaccination campaign from June 7 to June 13 as part of the sub-national immunisation days, to give oral polio vaccine (OPV) drops to over nine million children aged five years and less. “This campaign will be conducted in all 30 districts of Sindh, ‘’ he said and added that out of over nine million children, more than two million belonged to Karachi.

WHO protocols

“The campaign will be conducted whilst following strict WHO recommended coronavirus prevention protocols which include the wearing of masks by workers, their temperatures being checked before deployment, not handling children directly, not entering houses, spending limited time with families, and knocking on doors with pens, rulers or elbows rather than hands,” the CM said and added “as a result of the pandemic, the gap in campaigns from March to July 2020 coupled with routine immunisation being affected left an immunity gap in children which we have been addressing through back-to-back monthly polio campaigns since August 2020.”

Thanks to these quality campaigns conducted by district teams, Sindh has not reported a single case of polio since July 2020 and environment samples are also now showing a negative trend which is good for the programme and the future of the children of Pakistan, Shah said and added “If we continue with the same momentum, we will further see significant results, but we must not get complacent and continue the hard work.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2021.