Anti-polio drive kicks off with SOPs

Seven-day drive aims to inoculate 7.5m children across 22 districts of Sindh


Our Correspondent August 03, 2021
A vaccinator administers oral polio vaccine to a child going on a motorbike with his parents on a street in Karachi on Monday. PHOTO: PPI

KARACHI:

Like the rest of the country, an anti-polio campaign kicked off in Sindh on Monday to vaccinate children below five years of age against the crippling disease.

The Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for polio in Sindh on Monday kicked off a 7-day campaign to give oral polio vaccine (OPV) drops to around 7.4 million children under five-year of age across 22 districts of the province, out of which 2.2 million children are from Karachi.

Vaccinators went door-to-door in different parts of Karachi during the first day, with polio workers ensuring full implementation of WHO mandated SOPs against coronavirus.

According to the EOC spokesperson, no new polio case has been reported in Sindh during the past year, while the virus has also not been detected in any environmental sample of the province.

Polio situation has clearly improved, he said, adding that the anti-polio campaign will continue till August 8.

The workers of the polio vaccination campaign will be given the necessary protective gear for their protection against coronavirus infection and will be following all WHO recommended protocols to keep themselves and others safe from Covid-19. This includes wearing of masks, using hand sanitizers, knocking on doors with pens and elbows rather than hands and not directly handling children.

"While we deal with the pandemic it's also very important to ensure childhood vaccinations including polio and we urge parents to bring their children forward for vaccination," the spokesperson said.

Read: Sindh opens 11 more Covid vaccination centres as people storm them after govt warning

Coordinator EOC Sindh Fayaz Abbasi said: "good progress has been made but there is no room for complacency and we must double our efforts to ensure that we sustain and capitalize on the progress made, there is a lot more work to be done to ensure a polio-free Sindh and a polio free Pakistan"

The benefits of vaccination are clear as frequent campaigns have significantly reduced the burden of polio across the country, there is only 1 case in all of Pakistan this year which was reported from Balochistan in January 2021.

The Pakistan Pediatric Association, Pakistan Medical Islamic Medical Association, medical experts across the world, as well as religious clerics endorse the oral polio vaccine as the safest and most effective, for not only preventing polio but also eradicating it from the environment.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2021.

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