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Karachi

July 18, 2017

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Second phase of polio drive kicks off in city

Second phase of polio drive kicks off in city

The city commissioner on Monday inaugurated the second phase of the six-day polio vaccination drive at the Karachi Metropolitan Commission’s Maternity Centre in Gizri.

As many as 1.8 million children will be administered the vaccine in Karachi from July 17 to 23, 2017 in the second phase. Ejaz Ahmed Khan after administering the oral polio vaccine to a child, said he hoped Pakistan would soon be declared a polio-free country

“Not a single case has been reported from Karachi this year. This shows the dedication of polio vaccine volunteers and with the help of international agencies and support of the people, Pakistan would soon become a polio free country,” the Commissioner Karachi observed while addressing media personnel following the inaugurating.

In the first phase of the campaign, held from July 10 to 13, around 1.5 million children were vaccinated in Jacobabad, Qambar Shahdadkot, Larkana, Shikarpur and Sukkur as well as selected areas of Dadu, Ghotki, Kashmore, Khairpur, Naushahro Feroze, Sanghar and Shaheed Benazirabad.

Not a single case of polio has been reported in the city since a year-and-a-half, whereas no case has yet been reported from the rest of Sindh this year. Three cases have so far been reported in Pakistan this year; one each from Punjab, Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan.

In a statement made at the start of the campaign, Sindh Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Emergency coordinator Fayaz Jatoi had stated that despite the headway and improvements made in eradicating polio from the province, “We cannot afford to relax yet; the virus keeps springing up from time to time and as long as that happens there will always be a chance for the virus to stage a comeback.”

He said that the centre not only has to maintain its performance but should also enhance their efforts to eradicate the virus once and for all. “We have never been this close to eradication. We must keep innovating and continue to cover children previously missed and concentrate on high-risk mobile populations and focus on continuous training of staff so we can see our-selves over the finish line.”

In May this year, Sindh’s chief minister had said the provincial government would attempt to win over the parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated against polio. Chairing a meeting on the Provincial Task Force for Polio Eradication at the CM House, Syed Murad Ali Shah said the crippling disease was a national issue and all the provincial administrations needed to combat it in their respective jurisdictions.

Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Coordinator Fayyaz Jatoi said that only two polio cases had been reported in the country this year: one in Gilgit-Baltistan and the other in Punjab. “Thirty cases were reported in Sindh during 2014. The number dropped to 12 the next year and to eight last year. Thank God it is zero this year.”

Jatoi said Karachi had been vulnerable and samples collected from different areas, such as Machhar Colony, Sohrab Goth and Gadap, had tested positive for the polio virus. “But now the city has tested negative, but there are some indications of the virus in lower and northern Sindh.”

He said that in Karachi the polio coverage was around 90 per cent but still 80,000 children were left out because of one of two reasons: parents’ refusal or absence from their houses. On this the CM directed the officials to persuade the refusing parents to let the vaccinators administer polio drops to their children and try to revisit the houses where the occupants were found to be absent during the drive.

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