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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Polio vaccination to start in KP from March 3

By M. Waqar Bhatti
February 27, 2024

ISLAMABAD: Around 45.8 million children up to the age of five years would be administered Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) drops during the National Immunisation Days (NIDs) which started today (Monday), while polio vaccination in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will commence from March 3, 2024, officials said.

(File photo) Health workers administer anti-polio vaccine to the children during the polio eradication drive in Hyderabad. — Online/File
(File photo) Health workers administer anti-polio vaccine to the children during the polio eradication drive in Hyderabad. — Online/File

Around 406,615 team members, including 334,197 mobile members, 12,968 transit workers, 10,553 fixed workers as well as thousands of supervisors and monitors have been deployed across the country to administer the polio vaccine drops to children, officials said, adding that the National Immunisation Days will continue till March 3, 2024 in entire Pakistan except KP.

Federal Secretary for Health Iftikhar Ali Shallwani monitored polio vaccination activities in Islamabad and interacted with polio teams on Monday – the first day of the ongoing nationwide polio immunisation campaign.

Shallwani also visited the community health centre in union council Shah Allah Ditta along with the district administration officials and senior leadership of the Polio Programme NEOC Coordinator Dr Shahzad Baig and found it to be equipped with adequate polio vaccine supplies, well-trained fixed teams, and administrative support staff.

He also visited polio vaccinators in the field as they went door-to-door immunising children. In his interactions with the vaccinators, Secretary Shallwani appreciated their hard work and dedication to protecting the future generations of Pakistan from polio and encouraged them to continue their mission with the same enthusiasm.

As part of his visit, the health secretary also visited a transit vaccination team in Zam Zam Plaza, Dhoke Abassi area of UC Rural, and spent time with the team there which was busy in vaccinating children on the move.

Transit teams play crucial role in vaccinating the children who are travelling and might be missed in house-to-house campaigns.The health secretary said, “For decades, polio has continued to be a constant threat for our children, devastating lives and leaving them paralysed. We cannot allow this disease to persist.”

He added Pakistan reported only six polio cases last year and stands much closer to eradication than ever before, and this last mile requires even more effort than before.“Polio eradication is and will remain a top priority for the government,” he said. “I am personally overseeing this campaign in different parts of the country to visit teams and communities, especially those in high-risk areas, to understand the remaining challenges and to support the programme as we strive to end polio from this country.”

The health ministry is conducting the second nationwide polio vaccination of the year this week with the aim to vaccinate more than 45.8 million children under five across the nation to protect them from paralytic polio. The campaign will continue till March 9.