Punjab anti-polio drive starts today

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A polio campaign as a part of the National Immunization Day will begin in Punjab from Monday, Jan 16.

The three-day campaign will continue till January 18 in which 18.4 million children under the age of five years will be given vaccination drops.

“Though Punjab has had no case for a year, persistent circulation of virus means that the good job has to continue,” Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Khawaja Imran Nazir said here on Sunday.

The Punjab primary and secondary healthcare secretary said the department had constituted over 44,000 teams in the province, constituting 37,845 mobile teams, 4,439 fixed and 2,370 transit teams.

Pakistan recorded 20 polio cases in 2016 with eight in Sindh, eight in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, two in FATA and two in Balochistan. Punjab recorded no polio case in 2016.

Punjab is focusing on Multan, Rawalpindi and Lahore because of recent positive environmental samples.

Punjab Emergency Operation Coordinator Dr Munir Ahmed said that recent environmental samples are a cause of concern indicating the presence of the virus in the environment.

“There were positive samples in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and DG Khan in Punjab,” Dr Munir Ahmed said.

“We are trying to reach out to mobile and migrant populations coming from polio affected areas. In case of teams not reaching any area, the 0800 99000 helpline may be used,” he added.