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February 17, 2020

First nationwide polio campaign of 2020 begins today

Islamabad

February 17, 2020

Islamabad : The first nationwide polio vaccination drive of 2020 is scheduled to start from today (Monday) with an aim to vaccinate 39.6 million children under the age of five years across Pakistan, except Karachi.

Over 265,000 frontline polio workers will go street to street and knock at every door to protect Pakistani children against the crippling virus. “Building on the campaign in December last year, the nation is all set to undertake aggressive measures to push the virus back during 2020, setting the stage to root out polio once and for all. We are committed to reach every last child and I request all segments of society to join hands,” said Dr. Zafar Mirza, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health. “We have critically reviewed our performance during last campaign and worked with provincial and district teams for an even better preparedness for the upcoming nationwide vaccination effort, " he added.

“Learning from 2019, we have a firm resolve to turn the situation around in 2020. The national team urges every Pakistani to assume the role of Sehat Muhafiz, ensuring vaccination of own children as well as those around them,” said Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, Coordinator National Emergency Operations Centre.

To benefit from the low temperatures, Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Programme scheduled three back to back national campaigns during the December, February and April with two additional strategic response rounds in high-risk districts during January and March. To build on gains of last two months, the NEOC has deployed its 50 experts as facilitators across critical areas of the country to support frontline workers in administering two drops of the oral polio vaccine to every child during the February NID. The effort will not only protect children from contracting the disease, but also prevent them from carrying the virus in their intestines.

The programme is making all-out efforts to ensure a polio-free future and is supported by all segments of the society including medical community, top religious scholars, journalists, celebrities etc., making it a truly national effort. It is important for parents and caregivers to welcome polio frontline workers and support them in vaccinating children in the neighborhood as well. The programme has also launched the ‘Sehat Tahhafuz Helpline 1166’ with local language capacities that allows the public to seek advice and report children that have not been vaccinated due to any reason.