Polio on brink of eradication due to nation’s resolve: Ayesha Raza

  • 37.71m children to be vaccinated in second last polio campaign

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq Tuesday said that the nation has shown a great resolve and determination to bring the country at the brink of polio eradication but the job is not yet finished.

She said this during a surprise visit to various localities in Islamabad including Tarlai and temporary settlements of nomads.  She was accompanied by National Coordinator for Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Dr Rana Safdar and other senior officers of the health ministry, ICT and CDA.

The senator said that high quality national and sub-national campaigns in April and May might be the chance to give the virus a final push out of Pakistan.

Noting that the polio drive in the capital is critical, Ayesha Raza said that the prime minister has constituted a special task force to specifically monitor the campaign in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, which report back to him on daily basis to ensure maximum coverage during this and all the upcoming campaigns.

Though there has been no case reported from the twin cities for over two years, the virus has been found in the environmental samples of both Islamabad and Rawalpindi drainage thus raising the concerns amongst officials and communities.

The senator also took notice of gaps in the provision of routine immunisation services against nine deadly diseases of children in the area and issued directions to ensure that every child is immunised without any failure.

Talking to the parents and communities during her field visit, Senator Ayesha Raza urged all segments of the society, especially the parents, to facilitate the front line workers (Sehat Muhafiz) in this noble cause.

A total of 37.71 million children under five years of age will be vaccinated, including 19.38 million in Punjab, 8.85 million in Sindh, 5.73 million in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 2.46 million in Balochistan, 1 million in FATA, 0.7 million in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), 0.238 million in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and 0.33 million children in Islamabad, in the second last polio campaign of the current low transmission season.

A total of 260,000 personnel will strive to achieve set targets across Pakistan including 24,661 areas in- charges, 7,977 UC medical officers, 190,573 mobile, 10,235 fixed and 12,148 transit team members.

The current polio epidemiology in the country is best ever observed with case decline from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015 to 20 in 2016 and 8 in 2017. In 2018, only one polio case has so far been reported from district Dukki, Balochistan.