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Thursday June 20, 2024

Call to improve quality of polio campaigns

By Our Correspondent
January 28, 2023

LAHORE:National and Punjab emergency operation centre coordinators have called for improving the quality of upcoming polio campaigns to ensure that no child remains unvaccinated.

The coordinators said this on Friday during a review of the investigation, which was jointly conducted by the provincial and district teams in the aftermath of positive sample collected from Lahore’s Outfall Road. The National Coordinator Dr Shahzad expressed the hope that the programme was on track to eradicate polio that was evident from the decline in genetic clusters. “Genetic clusters of polio virus have declined from seven to one. This is not an ordinary achievement of the programme but still strict surveillance needs to be made for top quality to ensure polio is eradicated polio from Pakistan”, underlined Dr Shahzad Baig. The NEOC Coordinator Dr Shahzad cautioned against putting polio teams under unnecessary pressure. “The virus has been detected on time. Considering the movement of population between Pakistan and Afghanistan, this was not unexpected. Therefore, we do not need to lower our morale and Polio teams also need to continue working with passion. The real test will come in next two months. The performance of the district teams will be judged after the month of March. The virus in provincial capital needs to be eliminated during this time”, stressed the NEOC coordinator.

Dr Shahzad called for improving the capacity of health administrations of major districts. “The strength of surveillance staff could be increased in order to detect virus on time. The surveillance staff could also share workload to ensure that virus is timely reported and operations as well as communication teams are able to reach all children on time”, urged the NEOC coordinator. Speaking on the occasion, the head of the polio programme in Punjab Khizer Afzaal stressed that in order to drive out virus, districts needed to strengthen polio drives. “The performance of district heads will be monitored”, reaffirmed the PEOC coordinator. Khizer called for improving communication with parents through innovative messaging and improving outreach of media campaigns. The PEOC head urged the district health administrations to improve monitoring quality.