School sealed for refusing polio drops to kids without parents’ consent


–Education dept seals Kids Kampus Gulberg for not allowing health workers access to classrooms

–Salamat Schools director says govt’s polio drive between child, parents and state; school can’t take responsibility

LAHORE: Punjab Schools Education Department on Wednesday sealed a private educational institution for not allowing polio teams of the Health Department to enter its premises and administer anti-polio vaccination to the students without their parents’ consent.

As per the details, a team of frontline polio workers along with Health Department officials visited the Gulberg branch of Kids Kampus in Lahore, asking the school management to allow administering polio drops to each and every student.

“The management regretted allowing them to do so without parental consent. Due to our consideration for the safety of our students, the officials have sealed the campus till further notice,” stated a notification issued to the parents by the school administration.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, Salamat Schools Director Omer Salamat confirmed the episode and said the government’s anti-polio drive was between the child, his or her parents and the state. “What has the school to do with it?”

“They [Health Department officials] wanted access to the classrooms to administer polio vaccine. We only refused because we can’t give such access without the parent’s consent,” he said.

Omer said he told the officials that the school had already sent consent forms to the parents and they were welcome to administer drops to children whose parents concurred, but the administration cannot take any responsibility in this regard.

“We even advised them to set up a stall outside the school so that they may be able to meet the parents and convince them because the school itself cannot give access to a third party to administer the vaccination to the students,” he said.

However, Omer added, the officials said they had strict orders from the government high-ups and the school had to be sealed otherwise. “We then told them to go ahead so that we may proceed accordingly.”

To a question, he said that the administration has now contacted the office of deputy commissioner (DC) and the matter will hopefully be resolved soon. “The DC office said that both the health and education departments have been tasked to continue the anti-polio drive in full swing, but have assured us to look into the matter.”

It is noteworthy that the first nationwide polio vaccination campaign of 2019 started across Pakistan on Monday. During the campaign, a total of 260,000 frontline workers will go door-to-door across all provinces and towns to ensure more than 39 million children under the age of five receive two drops of the vaccine which will protect them against the poliovirus.

Considering the significance of this nationwide immunisation campaign, the National Emergency Operations Centre has deployed 50 experts to facilitate preparedness and ground implementation of vaccination campaign activities by local teams in priority areas.

The campaign in Pakistan is synchronised with Afghanistan to ensure vaccination of all children on the move as well. The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) reviewed the country’s progress and gave recommendations for further improvement during the recently held technical review.