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Monday July 22, 2024

Anti-polio drive begins in 16 high-risk districts

By M. Waqar Bhatti
March 14, 2023

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday launched a week-long anti-polio campaign in 16 high-risk districts of the province by administering vaccine drops to children in a ceremony organised at the CM House by the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for Polio Eradication.

The ceremony was attended by Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Soomro, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Karachi Commissioner Iqbal Memon, Health Secretary Zulfiqar Shah, Aziz Memon, Coordinator EOC Polio Eradication Fayaz Abbasi and others.

The CM said the anti-polio drive was being launched in 16 high-risk districts of the province -- all seven districts of Karachi Division, all five districts of Larkana Division, Sukkur Division (Sukkur and Ghotki), Hyderabad Division (Hyderabad full and Jamshoro partial -- with an aim to vaccinate more than 5.6 million children under 5 years of age.

He said Pakistan was one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with Afghanistan. “Pakistan has reported 20 cases of polio since April 2022, and all cases belong to South KP while positive environmental samples have also been reported from all provinces,” he said.

Shah said that it was a great achievement for Sindh that no polio case has been reported over the last 33 months. The last polio case was reported on July 14, 2020, from Jacobabad, he said and added the environmental samples had been reported negative for more than one and half years except one in August 2022 from Landhi, District Malir.

“If we continue with the same momentum, we will further see significant results, but we must not get complacent and continue the hard work,” he said and added children could be saved from childhood diseases like polio through vaccination and we seek every stakeholder’s help to raise awareness regarding this.

Shah said Pakistan Paediatric Association, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, medical experts across the world, as well as prominent religious scholars in Pakistan, endorse the oral polio vaccine as the safest and most effective for not only preventing polio but also eradicating it from the environment.