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June 18, 2019

Parents asked not to fall prey to propaganda as polio vaccination drive begins


June 18, 2019

Sindh Health Secretary Saeed Awan said on Monday he got all his children vaccinated against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases and urged parents in Karachi and the rest of Sindh to get their children vaccinated by having two drops of oral polio vaccine (OPV) whenever polio vaccinators knocked at their doors.

“I would urge parents not to get influenced by the negative propaganda against polio vaccination as I myself got my children vaccinated against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Please let your children have two drops of oral polio vaccine whenever polio workers knock at your door,” he said while inaugurating a polio vaccination drive at the Lyari General Hospital.

The seven-day drive by the Emergency Operation Centre for Polio in Sindh will continue till June 23 in Karachi and from June 17 to 20 in Badin, Thatta, Sajawal, Dadu, Jamshoro, Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Naushero Feroze, Sukkur, Khairpur, Ghotki, Larkana, Kambar, Jaccobabad, Shikarpur and Kashmore.

The campaign is being conducted in 26 districts of Sindh, including six districts of Karachi. The target population for this campaign is 5.5 million under-five children. In Karachi, the campaign will be conducted in 105 UCs and will target more than 1.5 million, while the total target of all other areas of Sindh is just above 3.9 million.

Officials said in Karachi they were going to 1.5 million children under five years of age in 105 UCs, 1.4 million children in 202 UCs in Hyderabad Division, 1.5 million children in 212 UCs of Larkana, 545,000 children in 74 UCs in Sukkur Division and 509,610 children would be vaccinated in 75 UCs of Shaheed Benazirabad Division.

As many as 30,000 plus front-line workers and area supervisors are taking part in this campaign across the province, and more than 10,000 of them have been deployed in Karachi, where they will be provided security cover by 5,000 police personnel and members from law enforcement agencies.

Officials said more than 8,000 teams, 1,650 area in-charges, and more than 215 union council communication officers will take part in the campaign in Karachi, while in the same way, Hyderabad Division will have 4,658 teams and 1,014 area in-charges with 390 Union Council communication officers.

As many as 4,168 teams and 931 area in-charges with 289 union council communication officers will be involved in the vaccination drive in Larkana Division. Sukkur Division will have 1,625 teams and 344 area in-charges supported by 109 union council communication officers, while Shaheed Benazirabad will have 1,338 teams, 4,213 area in-charges and 1,124 union council communication officers deployed during the campaign.

“This is an extremely important campaign to address positive environment samples and to save children from polio. Parents must not fall prey to fake propaganda and must vaccinate their children to save them from lifelong disability,” Awan added.

In 2019 Pakistan has reported 23 cases of polio out of which 17 have been reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three from Punjab and three from Sindh. Out of the three cases in Sindh, two have been reported from Karachi.

“We have been coming up with different strategies in order to save children from this deadly virus and we will not rest until this virus is completely eliminated from the country. We have made huge improvements from 2014, but 2019 has been a difficult year across the country and we must rise up to the challenge. Parents also must not refuse the polio vaccine as they put their children in danger by doing so.

“The district and divisional administrations along with partners and front-line workers have worked tirelessly in the province, but more work needs to be done to ensure we reach zero polio cases. This is our goal and we will continue our efforts till it is achieved.”

The health secretary said that the Sindh government also strongly encouraged parents to visit their nearest health centres and ensure that children had their routine immunisation complete, as this was extremely necessary for a healthy future for them.

The Sindh government, he added, had also been improving the health infrastructure for routine immunisation and mother and child health in the province with the opening of new EPI centres and mother and child health centres. This practice would continue in order to address the health needs of mothers and children, so we may ensure a healthy future for our citizens, he said.

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