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Health

APP
December 24, 2018

Kiani urges masses to join hands for polio-free Pakistan

Health

APP
Mon, Dec 24, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Aamer Mehmood Kiani has advised the polio control teams to go for interrupting the crippling virus within the current transmission season.

During a review of the recent nationwide polio vaccination campaign held in December, the minister appreciated the country team for continued commitment and urged all the segments of society to join hands for achieving a polio-free Pakistan.

“Reduction of annual polio case counts from 20,000 to only eight this year indicates a remarkable progress in protecting children from a devastating disease,” the minister said.

“With virus confined to small pockets of persistent transmission within core reservoirs, the country has a historic opportunity in hand to ensure a polio-free future for generations.”

Earlier, in briefing, Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, Coordinator, National Emergency Operations Centre shared statistics of December campaign successfully conducted nationwide using a workforce of almost 260,000 front line workers.

Of the 37.73 million under five children targeted in the campaign, almost 90% were covered during campaign days while 92% of the children missed in campaign days have so far been vaccinated during the catch up.

The programme however, still has around 400,000 children recorded as without vaccination and an extended catch up is being conducted during current week to vaccinate them as well.

“Despite significant case decline, the presence of virus in sewerage water of urban settings indicates that our job is not yet done.

We are working hard to fully plug the immunity gaps by addressing the remaining challenges in core reservoirs”, Dr Safdar said.

“The government is fully committed to stopping the transmission of polio in Pakistan and doing everything possible to achieve the cherished goal,” Kiani said.

“Guided by our National Task Force having national and provincial leadership on board, we are striving not only to sustain the gains, but to accelerate the progress by focusing on reaching the repeatedly missed children during this winter,” he added.

Talking about strategies to convert low level transmission to complete interruption, Dr Safdar shared highlights of the Peshawar and Gadap Town Karachi Action Plan currently being implemented in coordination with provincial and district governments.

“Over 95% parents remain supportive however, full community ownership across will determine our success during next few months.

Intense efforts are underway to correct the ill-founded perceptions of resisting communities about vaccination through focused community engagement at street level now,” Dr Rana said.