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Karachi

September 17, 2017

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Six-day polio eradication drive kicks off in city

Six-day polio eradication drive kicks off in city

After the emergence of four polio cases in Pakistan, including one in Karachi last month, polio eradication authorities started a six-day drive on Saturday to vaccinate around 2.2 million children in the city.

“As many as 12,000 teams of vaccinators have been deployed to administer oral polio vaccine drops to 2.2 million children in 188 union councils of Karachi amid tight security,” the spokesman for Emergency Operations Centre for Polio (EOC) Sindh said, adding that the campaign would continue till September 21.

The vaccination drive in Karachi started with the deployment of over 5,000 police personnel and patrolling by 300 Rangers, while 25,000 vaccinators will go door to door to administer vaccine to children under five years of age.

The authorities have planned to vaccinate around 37.74 million children across Pakistan under the National Immunisation Days (NIDs) that started on September 16 in Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Fata, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Islamabad Federal Capital Territory.

The education authorities in Karachi have strictly warned private schools to cooperate with the vaccination teams during the campaign or be ready to face the cancellation of their registration with the department. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has also warned of strict action against officials if any children missed taking polio vaccine drops.

National EOC for Polio Rana Safdar said they had started a final push towards polio interruption with the first nationwide door-to-door campaign of the 2017-18 low transmission season from September 16 in all the districts/agencies of the country with a few local operational adjustments. 

The campaign in Quetta will commence today and in Lahore on September 19. Minor rescheduling will be carried out in the newly de-notified areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, North Waziristan Agency and South Waziristan Agency and select UCs in Tehsil Rojhan, Rajanpur.

The programme will reach a total of 37.74 million under five children (18.76 million in Punjab, 8.6 million in Sindh, 5.6 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2.4 million in Balochistan, 1.034 million in Fata, 0.74 million in AJK, 0.234 million in GB  and 0.312 million children in Islamabad) by utilising around 42 million doses of OPV. 

In the core reservoir areas covered through Community Based Vaccination (CBV) approach, it will be a five-day campaign and two-day catch-up, while in the mobile team areas there will be a three-day campaign and 1-2 day catch-up.

A total of 250,000 personnel will strive to achieve the set targets across Pakistan, including 23,250 area incharges, 7,896 UC medical officers, 182,787 mobile, 10,122 fixed and 11,220 transit team members.

The current polio epidemiology in the country is the best ever observed, he said adding that cases have declined from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015 and only 20 in 2016. Momentum is maintained in 2017 where the current case count of 4 compares to 16 same point in time during 2016.

“National EOC urges entire team to strive hard for best ever nationwide campaign setting the foundation of wiping out the virus from the last remaining areas. The National Task Force under Prime Minister as well as the national and provincial political and religious leadership has also requested all sectors especially the parents to fully facilitate our frontline heroes (Sehat Muhafiz) in this noble cause,” Safdar said.

 

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