Three-day polio drive in capital from today

SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan urges parents to vaccinate their children


Our Correspondent September 20, 2021
A health worker administers the oral polio vaccine to a child in Rawalpindi on Monday. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD:

A three-day polio campaign for children under the age of five years will start in the federal capital from Monday (today).

According to health officials, over 40 million children under five years of age will be vaccinated with the polio vaccine along with a supplementary dose of the vitamin-A capsule during the campaign.

More than 290,000 Sehat Tahafuz frontline workers will go house to house for vaccination to protect children from lifelong paralysis caused by the poliovirus.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services, Dr Faisal Sultan said, "The programme has made significant gains with not a single case being reported for seven months, giving us a unique opportunity to achieve polio eradication.

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He said that now is the time to re-double our efforts and ensure to reach every eligible child with the polio vaccine to solidify this progress. Parents should open their doors to front line workers and vaccinate their children to make way for a polio-free Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan remains one of only two countries in the world with circulating wild poliovirus, together with Afghanistan. Wild poliovirus has been eradicated in all other countries, attesting to the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

"The upcoming campaign is vital for the programme and Pakistan's ability to achieve polio eradication," said Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Initiative.

He said, "We are currently going into the high transmission season during which the virus is especially active and need to ensure the protection of all our children with the vaccine. It is essential to vaccinate every child in the upcoming campaign, especially the newborns and infants."

"We must emphasize that caregivers prioritize routine immunization of children and visit health facilities as per the schedule. We aim to immunize all children against vaccine-preventable diseases to protect them from life-threatening diseases," he added.

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He said that Pakistan has made substantial progress towards polio eradication, with only one wild poliovirus case reported in 2021 compared to 75 cases last year. The significant reduction in cases is supported by a decrease in positive environmental samples from 55% to 12%, highlighting that poliovirus is less active in the country.

Polio drive in Attock

Attock Deputy Commissioner (DC) Imran Hamid Sheikh said that the four-day polio drive will kick off in the district from Monday (today).

Inaugurating a formal anti-polio drive at the Government Asfandyar Bukhari Hospital, he said that the immunisation drive against the poliovirus will continue till September 24.

He said that 1,602 polio teams will perform duty in six tehsils of the Attock district during the campaign. They will include 1,436 mobile teams, 126 fixed teams and 40 transit teams.

The DC said medical officers and 233 in-charges have also been deployed in 75 union councils of the Attock district. During the campaign, 297,783 children up to the age of five years will be given polio vaccines and drops.

 

 

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2021.

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