KARACHI: Authorities have been facing multiple challenges in vaccinating children against polio because about 45,000 children remained unvaccinated during various campaigns launched in Karachi during 2017 wherein 129,000 others were also deprived of polio vaccinations due to the change of residential addresses.
Sources at the Sindh health department told that the parents who refused the vaccination did not only put their own children at risk, but also posed a threat to the immunised ones.
The donor organisations and health experts are concerned about the refusal cases and want these cases to be covered in a bid to cope with the disease.
The experts believe that the eradication of poliovirus from Pakistan is not possible without eliminating the crippling diseases from Karachi, but unfortunately, a large number of children remain unvaccinated every year in the city due to the poor coverage system, security issues and the noncooperation of the parents.
However, eminent paediatrician and Pakistan Pediatric Association Sindh president Prof Syed Jamal Raza has said that vaccines play a major role in eliminating and preventing the diseases. He said without vaccines, epidemics of many preventable diseases could return, resulting in an increased and unnecessary illness and disability.
He said as refusals and unvaccinated children pose serious threats to the already vaccinated or healthy children, preventive measures are greatly needed to save infants.
He said that vaccines are available free of cost at EPI centres so that parents can get their children vaccinated.
The first polio campaign of 2018 will begin from Jan 22 in Karachi and will continue until January 26, 2018. It will target approximately 2.3 million children.
About 12,000 teams will take part in the five-day campaign and approximately 5,000 police personnel will be providing them security.
In 2017, a total of eight polio cases were reported in Pakistan out of which two cases were from Karachi.