PESHAWAR: The health department has announced Inactivated Polio Vaccines (IPV) will become permanent part of routine immunisation across the province.
In addition to the oral polio vaccine (OPV), IPV will also become part of routine immunisation from August and will be carried out across the province.
Officials said IPV campaigns had been carried out in the past but only in specified areas considered high-risk for poliovirus. They added IPV campaigns were also carried out in camps for displaced people and areas where Afghan refugees have been residing.
However, a health official said IPV would be administered to children with every third OPV dose that they receive. “We will administer IPV with the third dose of OPV,” the health official said who requested anonymity since he was not authorised to talk to the media. He said, “IPV only enhances immunity of a child against poliovirus but OPV helps eradicate it from communities.”
Besides the health department, the district administrations across the province have been working to make the immunisation campaigns a success.
The administrations have clearly directed health workers to identify all those who refuse to administer vaccination to their kids. All those who refuse to facilitate the health workers will be arrested.
The polio workers have also been instructed to seek support of clerics to help them administer the vaccine among children whose parents deny vaccination on religious grounds.
On July 9, during her visit to the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in K-P, the country representative of UNICEF, Angela Kearney, said there had been a decrease in polio cases due to concerted efforts by government and frontline workers.
She emphasised cross segments of society needed to play a role in stamping out this crippling disease from the region.
EOC Coordinator Dr Akbar Khan, UNICEF Regional Coordinator Rod Curtis and UNICEF Chief Field Officer Micheal Juma were present on the occasion.
The number of cases in the country reached 27 with a poliovirus case confirmed in Peshawar on July 7.
According to officials at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad, the case was confirmed from Mera Kachori, on the outskirts of the city.
Abu Bakr, 18-month-old, was diagnosed with polio – the onset of paralysis was recorded on June 9.
NIH officials said the sample had been collected and sent to the federal capital, which later confirmed the diagnosis. This is the sixth case reported from Peshawar; the total number of cases in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has reached 11.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2015.