Isolated wild poliovirus-1 from 29 environmental samples from across the country this year has raised serious questions on the performance during the polio campaigns and has alarmed the government.
The Ministry of National Health Service, Regularisation and Coordination (NHSRC) took notice of the presence of wild poliovirus in sewage samples of Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gaddap and Gulshan-e-Iqbal towns in Karachi, Hyderabad and Quetta and issued special directives to all the provinces to take immediate measures.
According to a press release issued on Friday, environmental surveillance has been set up with the technical assistance of World Health Organisation (WHO) at 23 sites in different cities.
During the last anti polio campaign, held in August, the Lot Quality Assessment Survey (LQAS) indicates that five districts or agencies including Jacobabad in Sindh, Batagram, Charsada, Karak in K-P, and Mohmand in FATA could not achieve the required results, which put them at very high risk.
Meanwhile, NHSRC Secretary Imtiaz Inayat Elahi has written a detailed letter to all provincial chief secretaries and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas Social Sector secretary to address concerns regarding their performance in polio eradication.
They were all requested to reactivate and hold provincial task force meetings to review the progress of previous campaigns and take appropriate measures to eliminate.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2013.