The district health department is launching a three-day anti-polio Short Interval Additional Dose (SIAD) campaign in as many as over 13 selective union councils of town from Tuesday (today) to administer anti-polio drops to children below five years of age.
The union councils selected for the SIAD activity are considered as the high-risk areas in town on the subject of prevalence of poliovirus. The SIAD has been planned after a three-day anti-polio drive that was carried out last week in the district.
We have set a target of eliminating polio virus from environment of the district while planning for the SIAD activity, said District Health Officer Dr. Khalid Randhawa while talking to ‘The News’ on Monday.
He added that the team of WHO takes sample from Nullah Leh on 24th of every month. “Through extensive anti-polio drives, we can make result of the sample to be taken in October negative and we are striving hard for that.”
It is important that the environmental sampling for polio virus has been tested positive in Rawalpindi district more than often within last two years. The environmental sampling was tested negative only for three months including April, June and July in 2012.
Dr. Randhawa said that the district health department has been carrying out anti-polio drives repeatedly every month particularly since May 2012. He added that at times, the health department carried out three anti-polio campaigns in Rawalpindi district in one month one under National Immunisation Day across district and two under SIAD in selective union councils of the district.
To a query, Dr. Randhawa said that the high-risk areas of the district on poliovirus prevalence are those, which have significantly heavy migration of children of internally displaced persons from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa or Fata. The union councils selected for the planned SIAD activity have huge population with origin in KP, he added.
“The teams of health department are in a position of administering anti-polio drops to 100 per cent children in the selected union councils because of smaller area in focus,” claimed Dr. Randhawa.
It is important that on September 10 this year, National Institute of Health confirmed three-year-old Sanaullah son of Shamsul Haq positive for polio who had residence in Rawalpindi for nearly two years though his sample was sent to the NIH from Bajaur Agency health department in KP. The district health department Rawalpindi, however, has not owned the confirmed polio case so far.
When asked, Dr. Randhawa said that the federal government has formed a committee to look into the matter that would decide whether the confirmed case is from Rawalpindi or from Bajaur. “We still claim that the patient contracted disease from Bajaur agency,” he said.