The show must go on decided the district government that will send back teams to ensure that the children left out after attacks on vaccination workers will be inoculated against polio this time around.
From January 3 to 7, police will accompany the volunteers as they comb the district to target more than 150,000 children. These households were left out either because the children were not home during the visits or their neighbourhoods were not reached in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
The United Nations had ordered its field staff off the streets after an organised attack on polio workers that left some 3.5 million children uncovered in the country, out of which 17% were from K-P.
This time the district administration is not taking any chances. New rules include a ban on motorcycles in the areas where polio teams will be working, Assistant Coordination Officer Habibullah Arif told The Express Tribune. Influential elders and revenue staff of the local government will accompany the polio teams in the district which is divided into four towns.
Unlike in the past, the campaign will not begin simultaneously across the district. “We have planned to inoculate children from area to area to ensure the safety of the polio workers while also making sure that none of the children are left out,” he said.
Earlier, the type-I polio virus was confirmed in an eight-month-old child, Ammar Khan from Mohallah Beri Bagh, Yakatoot-2. The National Institute of Health in Islamabad confirmed the case, making it the 26th to be reported in Peshawar.
The technical focal person for the polio eradication cell, Dr Imtiaz Ali Shah, appeared satisfied with the new plan prepared by the local government. Additional support has come from the chief secretary who has ordered all deputy commissioners and district coordination officers to enlist the help of the police and elders during the fresh start, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2012.
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