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September 24, 2019

Polio eradication drive schedules finalised


September 24, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The National Emergency Operations Centre for the Polio Eradication Campaign on Monday finalised its low transmission season strategy to overcome rampant transmission across the country.

The schedules were finalised in consultation with national and international partners. The schedules mark six campaigns in total from the beginning of November 2019 until June 2020. These include three nationwide campaigns (National Immunisation Day Campaigns or NIDs) in the months of December, February and April, wherein all children under the age of 5 will be vaccinated. It also includes three sub-national campaigns in November, January, June, where half of the country will be covered.

The strategy incorporates a wide array of internal and external assessments and findings, as well as the guidance of global public health experts. The schedule specifically focuses on ensuring 100 percent coverage of Super High-Risk (SHR). Union Councils will be pinpointed on the basis of epidemiological history and surveillance results.

“I am confident that this campaign schedule, coupled with other strategic shifts made by the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme, will help us break transmission in all core reservoirs simultaneously,” said the Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Babar Bin Atta, adding that this was the beginning to an end for achieving the polio-free status for Pakistan.

The campaign schedule is also in line with routine immunisation schedule of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation so that maximum children in vulnerable areas can be reached and safeguarded from preventable diseases.

The low transmission season is the most effective time to combat virus circulation. It is therefore important for parents, caregivers and citizens across to cooperate with frontline workers and ensure that any and all children are vaccinated against the poliovirus as a matter of national urgency.

Meanwhile, on a more serious note, two more cases of polio were confirmed from Lakki Marwat on Monday, taking the total number of cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to 50 and the national case count in Pakistan to 66 so far in 2019, as compared to 12 cases in 2018 and 8 cases in 2017. The latest victims are a 6 month-old and an 18 month-old male child from Tehsil Serai Naurang, Lakki Marwat. Both children had had zero doses of routine immunisation.

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