Millions of kids inoculated in year’s last polio drive

By Our Correspondent
December 04, 2023

LAHORE: Punjab on Sunday wrapped up its last national polio immunisation drive of the year vaccinating millions of children. The province had already wrapped up the national drive in 33 smaller districts having limited targets.

On Sunday, the campaign was wrapped up in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad. Till the filing of the report, data was still pouring in from remote union councils of the districts. Earlier, the Punjab polio eradication programme had confirmed that more than 22.80 million children had been vaccinated in the province in first five days of the campaign.

In Lahore, more than two million children had been vaccinated. While in Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan more than 0.9 million, 1.4 million and Multan one million children were vaccinated respectively in the five days.

A lady health worker administers polio drops to students at school during a polio eradicating campaign, in Lahore on November 27, 2023. — Online

More than 200,000 frontline polio workers participated in the drive which continued for seven days in mega districts. While in smaller districts of the province, the campaign lasted five days.

In his statement after the conclusion of the campaign, the head of the polio programme in Punjab and Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Khizer Afzaal hailed the contribution of polio teams saying the campaign’s success is directly linked to their performance. He assured polio workers of every support by the government so that they can perform their noble duties with full confidence.

The EOC head reassured that Punjab government under the leadership of the Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi as well as Minister and Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, was strongly committed to the cause of polio eradication, which is only possible due to the resilient frontline polio workers. Nine environmental samples have tested positive so far in 2023; six of them from Lahore and three from Rawalpindi.

The genomic sampling of virus confirms linkage of eight virus samples with the virus cluster YB3A which is circulating in Afghanistan. “So, the evidence suggests that Punjab is at the risk of virus importation. As long as the virus exists anywhere, it is a threat to children everywhere. Punjab is alert to safeguarding children from polio virus. Punjab is taking concrete steps to improve quality of campaigns and coverage of high-risk mobile as well as priority population”, reiterated the polio programme head.

Khizer outlined that data obtained from the campaign will be compiled and analysed to identify gaps and mapping of missed children so that corrective actions could be taken.