Wednesday July 06, 2022

‘Misconceptions hurdle in polio eradication’

By Our Correspondent
June 19, 2022

LAHORE : National Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Dr Shahzad Baig has stated that community resistance marked by misconceptions and cultural resistance about the vaccine are hurdles in polio eradication. Dr Shahzad Baig delivered the statement during a keynote address during Rotary conference held in Lahore on Saturday.

The three-day conference has been organised to welcome the new District Governor of the Rotary Abdur Saboor Rhaila and bid farewell to the outgoing governor Ch Saifullah Ejaz. The provincial Emergency Operations Centre coordinator Ms Syedah Ramallah Ali was also present on the occasion. In his address the NEOC coordinator Dr Shahzad stated that outbreak in North Waziristan was limited to one tehsil only. Dr Shahzad disclosed that international travelers would be issued polio vaccination certificates through National Vaccination Management System. During her address, the Punjab EOC coordinator Ms Ramallah traced the history of polio. “Almost three decades back in 1988 annually 350,000 children fell prey to the polio virus. But today only Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only endemic countries left on the globe”, said Ms Ramallah.

“Punjab has not reported any polio case since October 2020. Environmental samples are also negative for the wild poliovirus since May 2021. But we still cannot afford to be complacent. Punjab has increased vigilance to prevent polio virus reemergence”, Ms Ramallah observed.

The EOC coordinator further observed that Punjab is introducing innovations to eradicate poliovirus.

“Challenges are being faced in eradication due to community resistance. Also due to rapid urbanization and economic opportunities, new communities are heading towards Punjab. Punjab is alive to the risk and it is mapping the new communities so that no child remains deprived of polio vaccination”, added the EOC coordinator.

In their concluding remarks, the NEOC and PEOC coordinators thanked Rotary for generosity and fulfilling their commitments.

During the conference, outstanding polio workers were given shields in recognition of their services.

Rotary’s Polio Plus committee chair Saeed Shamsi pledged to provide every support to polio eradication activities and continue the cooperation in future.