Crippling disease: Police to help vaccinate displaced children against polio in high-risk city areas

Health adviser says Punjab is polio-free; govt wants to maintain this status.

Our Correspondent July 15, 2014


Adviser to Chief Minister on Health Khwaja Salman Rafique on Monday expressed concern over the detection of polio virus in the city.

He presided over a meeting to review the situation after the virus was detected in an environment sample of Lahore.

Rafique asked World Health Organisation representative Ubaidul Islam to test environment samples from the drains on Outfall Road to identify the area housing the virus.

The adviser said police’s help would be sought to administer polio drops to the children displaced by the armed forces offensive in North Waziristan.

He said the anti-polio campaign should be carried out on the pattern of anti-dengue drive. He said the Punjab was polio-free and the government wanted to maintain that status.

Rafiq ordered health authorities to conduct a survey of towns and identify vulnerable localities to administer polio drops to children.

Earlier, Ubaidul Islam presented a report on the polio situation in the province. He said micro planning for the anti-polio drive should be reviewed.

He said a vigorous awareness campaign should be launched to educate people about the crippling disease.

The meeting decided that a one-day anti-polio campaign would be launched in 23 “high-risk” union councils of Ravi, Data Ganj Bakhsh and Samanabad Towns on July 17 and July 24.

The meeting agreed that Pashtu-speaking health workers would be inducted in vaccination teams to remove communication hurdles between people and vaccinators.

Health Secretary Ijaz Munir said a polio awareness campaign should be launched before the anti-polio campaign to achieve better results. He said children from North Waziristan should be vaccinated on priority.

The secretary said action would be taken against the health officials who showed negligence during the campaign.

Health Services Director General Zahid Pervaiz, District Coordination Officer Muhammad Usman, Melinda Gates Foundation representative Aslam Chaudhry, Health Director (Expanded Programme on Immunisation) Munir Ahmad and Health Executive District Officer Zulfiqar Ali attended the meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2014.


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