Along with countering dengue, the district government has to face another challenge of containing spread of polio virus after Rawalpindi was declared polio-sensitive on Thursday, along with a few other districts around the country.
According to a letter issued to the Punjab chief secretary by the Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication, all the environmental samples collected from the garrison city in the first quarter of the year have been declared polio-positive.
An official of the cell said that the samples were collected by World Health Organisation. The letter said the anti-polio programme has been doing its best to provide maximum vaccination cover to children during the low-transmission season to halt virus transmission in the country.
The garrison city, along with Karachi and Peshawar, was declared “most sensitive” for the polio virus.
The document said that in addition to vaccination at permanent transit points, three nationwide polio drives and three Short Interval Additional Doses were conducted in the province during the first quarter of the year.
Talking to The Express Tribune, an official of the cell, requesting anonymity, said the provincial health ministry plans to vaccinate 174,000 children during the drive scheduled April.
For this, 200,000 OPV doses are required and the chief secretary has been asked to advise districts authorities to implement the polio vaccination campaign in their respective areas.
“The EPI manager should inform about the available stock of OPV at provincial and districts level and then collect the remaining vaccines from the federal EPI store,” it said. District Health Officer Dr Khalid Randhawa was out-of-town on leave on Thursday and could not provide an official response till he returned.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2014.