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February 10, 2018

Anti-polio drive begins next week


February 10, 2018

Rawalpindi: The second five-day polio eradication drive of the year will start all over Punjab, including Rawalpindi, from Monday (February 12), Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Khawaja Imran Nazir said on Friday.

“The Punjab government wants to build immunity of every child before the polio high-risk season starts in May this year”, said Khawaja Imran. “Reaching and vaccinating every child is absolutely critical in order to ensure that no more child suffers from the incurable disease”, the minister added.

Punjab’s Emergency Operation Coordinator Dr. Munir Ahmed said Pakistan is very close to eradicating polio and keeping polio cases down to one in two years in Punjab is a great feat. “But we will not relax until polio is eradicated”, he resolved. The provincial emergency operations centre has constituted over 44 thousand teams who will go door-to-door to vaccinate over 18.5 million under-five children all over the province, he said.

They include teams constituted for house-to-house visits, conducting vaccination at major bus stands, inter-provincial borders, airports, railway stations as well as hospitals the EOC coordinator added.

Dr. Munir said parents may contact helpline 0800-99000 if polio teams do not turn up in their areas. Deputy Commissioner Rawalpindi Talat Mahmood Gondal chaired a meeting in the district on Friday in connection with the campaign preparations and directed that work for irradiation of polio would be completed with missionary zeal.

District health officials participated in the meeting and vowed to vaccinate every child in the campaign so that presence of virus in environment does not pose risk to any child in the district.

Speaking on the occasion the DC issued directions to health staff that the second campaign of the year must be implemented more aggressively in Rawalpindi. “We are implementing this national drive with a resolve to eradicate polio in 2018”, he added.

Punjab has had no polio case in 2016 but with the beginning of 2017 a child was paralysed by the virus in Lodhran, leaving the family devastated. Eight polio cases have been reported in 2017: one from Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan respectively. While Sindh recorded two and Balochistan 3 cases respectively. No polio case was reported from Fata last year.

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