The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has planned to launch a three-month-long immunisation campaign in southern districts of the province to vaccinate children displaced from North Waziristan, in order to curb the spread of polio.
An official of the provincial health department while requesting anonymity told The Express Tribune that with the financial support of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the government would initiate a Sehat ka Insaf-like immunisation campaign to vaccinate displaced children against nine diseases including polio.
The campaign will be launched in Bannu, DI Khan, Lakki Marwat, Kohat as well as other areas where IDPs are being accommodated. It would begin by the end of June and continue till September, said the official.
“The campaign is specifically designed for children who have migrated from North Waziristan Agency because they have remained unvaccinated since June 2012 due to a ban on polio vaccination imposed by the Taliban,” he added.
During the first six months of this year, 83 cases of polio have been recorded, 54 of which are from North Waziristan alone.
According to the health department official, the mass displacement from the agency due to the ongoing military operation can ultimately lead to the spread of the crippling virus to other parts of the country.
“This is a good opportunity for the federal and provincial government to run a massive polio campaign and immunise all the children who have remained unvaccinated for years,” he added.
Peshawar Polio Control Room Focal Person Dr Ikram confirmed to The Express Tribune that the immunisation drive would begin from the last week of June.
Dr Ikram explained the funds would be made available to Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters (GHQ), and the GHQ will allocate the finances to relevant commissioners and political agents.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2014.
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