Following the confirmation of the first polio case from the Lyari area of Karachi earlier in the ongoing month, the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Polio in Sindh has announced that the next polio campaign in the province will be carried out from Monday (today) till April 1 in its 26 districts, including Karachi.
The target population for the campaign is 6.1 million children under five years, of whom more than 2.3 million belong to the six districts of Karachi.
As many as 50,000 front line workers will take part in the campaign. In Karachi alone, more than 12,000 community health workers along with over 2,500 area incharges will go door to door to administer polio drops to children. Approximately 5,000 law enforcement agencies personnel will provide security to the polio vaccination teams.
Health authorities have termed the campaign extremely important as environmental samples in Karachi have tested positive for polio virus and it is only a few days ago when a child in Lyari contracted the polio virus. Luckily, she had received more than seven doses of the polio vaccine and is not going to suffer from paralysis or disability. This again highlights how important it is to administer the anti-polio vaccine to all the children under five years of age.
Coordinator EOC Sindh Umar Farooq Bullo called on people to recognise the importance of vaccination. This girl was saved from disability because she was vaccinated on multiple occasions, had she not, she would have to suffer, he said.
“We have reduced cases through intensive polio drives but we are facing refusals because of repeated vaccination, we would like to take this opportunity to inform the masses that repeated vaccination is necessary for polio eradication and to ensure that children are safe from polio. We request parents to cooperate with polio teams and secure the future of their own children by giving them two drops of the polio vaccine,” Bullo maintained.
The Pakistan Paediatric Association and medical experts also recommend that every child must take two drops of the vaccine every time it is offered. Meanwhile religious scholars from all sects of Islam too have endorsed the anti-polio programme and issued Fatawa, asking the masses to vaccinate their children to protect them from lifelong disability.
The creation of the emergency operation centres in the provinces have gradually improved the polio situation in the country. In 2014, a total of 30 new polio cases were reported in Sindh; however, due to the continual vaccination campaigns, the number of new cases in the province reduced to one in 2018. In 2019, one polio case has so far been reported in Sindh from Karachi.