- President urges religious scholars to nullify misconceptions about polio vaccination
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan would be free from the polio virus by the next year and urged religious scholars to play their role to nullify the misconceptions about the (polio) vaccine.
He was talking to the media after the launch of a three-day nationwide anti-polio campaign and applauded them for serving the country despite facing life threats in certain areas. He was accompanied by Minister for National Health Amir Kayani, representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF besides senior government officers.
President Alvi who earlier launched the drive by administering the vaccine to two children living in a slum here also appealed the people to extend all-out support to the vaccination teams so that the country could get rid of the disease. He lauded the role of the security agencies who had been providing cover to the vaccination teams.
In 2014, 306 cases had been reported, 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and eight in 2017. In 2018, only four polio cases had so far been reported from two districts including three from Dukki area of Balochistan and one from Charsadda. The health minister said that the credit for the remarkable reduction in polio cases went to the vaccination teams who had been striving to protect the children from deadly disease.
He said that Pakistan was one of three polio-endemic countries in the world with Afghanistan and Nigeria being rest two states. The three-day drive would target a total of 38.6 million children aged below five including 19.22 million in Punjab, 8.88 million in Sindh, 6.75 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including tribal districts), 2.5 million in Balochistan, 0.7 million in Azad Kashmir, 0.237 million in GB and 0.33 million children in Islamabad.
During this campaign, Vitamin-A supplement will also be administered to around 35 million children aimed at boosting immunity against all infectious diseases including measles. A total of 260,000 personnel would strive to achieve the set targets across Pakistan.