The Punjab government has initiated the implementation of its new strategy to eradicate polio from the province, Adviser to Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique said on Friday.
Under the new strategy, all children travelling from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the Punjab via trains or by road would be administered polio drops, he said. This way, the children who have not been given the drops in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be vaccinated against the polio virus in the Punjab.
Rafique was addressing the inauguration of the government’s anti-polio campaign at the Attock railway station. He said the campaign will focus on trains coming from Peshawar to Rawalpindi.
Health Director General Zahid Pervaiz, Attock District Coordination Officer Muhammad Iqbal, Executive District Officer Dr Musarrat, Extended Programme on Immunisation Health Director Dr Munir Ahmed, and several representatives of the World Health Organisation, the UNICEF, the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and the Rotary International were also present on the occasion.
Rafique said that Punjab Health Department mobile teams will be deputed in trains to administer polio drops to children travelling from Peshawar to Rawalpindi. He said the basic objective of the campaign was to ensure that polio was completely eradicated – not just from the Punjab – but the entire country.
Later Rafique also inaugurated a container check-post for polio vaccination on the GT Road, Khairabad Bridge at Attock. These containers have been provided by the Rotary International to set up polio check-posts. Rafique said that the check posts would be established at all entrances and exits to the province. He said the containers had been installed near police check-posts so that buses and other vehicles could be stopped and checked with the cooperation of police officials. He said while the police checks vehicles and passengers, polio teams will be able to administer polio drops to children travelling in the buses.
Rafique also requested people to cooperate with the polio teams and the Health Department to keep their children safe from the debilitating disease and to help the government eradicate the menace from the country once and for all. Rafique also inaugurated another permanent container polio check-post established by the Rotary International near Pir Wadhaye bus terminal. Rafique said that he hoped that these steps would result in the complete eradication of the disease.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2014.