Anti-polio campaign kicks off in FATA, various districts of KP, Punjab from today

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PESHAWAR: As many as 1,040,000 children below the age of five years will be vaccinated during three days anti-polio vaccination campaign which will start in FATA from Monday.

A total of 4,349 teams, comprising 3,964 mobile teams, 286 fixed teams and 99 transit teams have been constituted, said the spokesman.

FATA Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Coordinator Muhammad Zubair Khan advised EOC FATA team that every child under five years’ in FATA should be vaccinated with focus on persistently missed and on the move children during the anti-polio campaign.

The coordinator said that improvement in the quality of campaign in North and South Waziristan Agencies was important to sustain zero polio case status in FATA.

He said that the vaccinators at transit points, especially in Khyber, North and South Waziristan Agencies, should remain vigilant and vaccinate every child under the age of five travelling to and from their respective agencies.

In a recent Technical Advisory Group meeting held at Islamabad on December 1, 2017, progress against polio in FATA has been appreciated.  International Monitoring Board in its fifteenth report also acknowledged that FATA has mostly met all benchmarks for supplementary immunisation activity and surveillance.

Meanwhile, a three-day anti-polio campaign begins in seventeen districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) from today.

According to KP health department, the districts where the campaign is starting include Kohat, Hangu, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi, Swat, Malakand, Chitral, Dir Lower, Dir Upper and Afghan refugees camps.

During the campaign, five million children up to five years of age will be administered anti-polio drops. Eighteen thousand teams have been constituted to visit door-to-door to ensure administering anti-polio drops to the children.

Polio teams will also be available at railway stations, bus stands, public places to ensure administering anti-polio drops to every child.

Tight security measures have been taken to ensure the security of polio teams.

Similarly, polio eradication teams of the Punjab health department would visit door-to-door to vaccinate nearly seven million children less than five years in eight districts of Punjab in a campaign starting from today.

The Punjab Emergency Operations Centre has decided to hold polio eradication campaigns in Lahore, DG Khan, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, Rawalpindi, Rahim Yar Khan and Sheikhupura, Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Khawaja Imran Nazir said.

“All children of five years will be vaccinated in DG Khan, Lahore, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, Rawalpindi and RY Khan,” the minister said. He added, “The five-day drive is part of the government efforts to provide protection to children.”

Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Secretary Ali Jan Khan urged parents to vaccinate their children during the three-day campaign especially those who were guests.

Globally, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries still having polio cases. Punjab is focusing on South Punjab districts as well as Rawalpindi and Lahore because of persistent positive environmental samples.

Punjab’s Emergency Operation Coordinator Dr Munir Ahmed said that a recent polio case from Lodhran and persistent positive environmental samples were a cause of concern.

“Positive samples in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and DG Khan and now a polio case in Lodhran highlighted the need to reach out to all children,” he said.