Public health: Polio vaccination campaign starts 23rd

Consultant warns that failure to wipe out polio could result in travel restrictions.


Our Correspondent April 12, 2012

LAHORE:


A three-day vaccination campaign will be launched on April 23 that aims to immunise 1.4 million children in the city against polio, said a World Health Organisation (WHO) consultant on Wednesday.


Dr Shafiqur Rehman, the WHO consultant for Punjab, told a meeting here to review arrangements for the campaign that 15 of the 40 polio cases worldwide were in Pakistan, including one in the Punjab. He said the WHO had declared Pakistan a high-risk country with regard to the international spread of the polio virus and the country could face travel restrictions under international health regulations if the polio campaign “remained weak”.

Dr Rehman briefed the meeting about the campaign in Lahore from April 23 to April 25, saying that 2,511 mobile teams would vaccinate around 1.4 million children. A total of 81 zonal supervisors and 415 in-charges would observe 236 sites, while 80 camps would be set up. He said that health officials would go door to door to give polio drops to children.

Khawaja Salman Rafique, the special assistant to the chief minister on health, stressed the need for coordinated efforts to wipe out the disease. He said that religious scholars, teachers, members of civil society and Health Department officials must work together.

He said that elected representatives would help the government with the campaign. “All of us should accept the responsibility and play our due role to ensure every child is vaccinated during the upcoming campaign,” he said.

Dr Inamul Haq, the executive district officer (health), and representatives of private schools, the police, Rotary International, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the Health, Education, Revenue, Civil Defence, Community Development and Auqaf Departments also attended the meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.

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