Eradicating polio virus in Karachi not easy, says health minister


KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho has said that Karachi, especially Gadap, has been a key issue in handling polio virus and unless genetical sequence coming from Peshawar and Lahore is not addressed properly, it is difficult to eradicate polio but we are committed to vaccine each and early child again and again.

This she said while presiding over a meeting here in his office on Tuesday. Secretary Health Saeed Ahmed Awan, Coordinator Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Sindh Umar Farooq Bullo, Rotary International Polio Plus Committee Chair and Vice President Rotary Foundation Michael McGovern, Ms Carol Pandaj, Aziz Memon and other officers were also present in the meeting.

She said that false marking was also another hindrance in getting polio-free Sindh, adding that missed/refusal cases must be addressed on a priority basis, while suggesting that the age limit for polio vaccination might be increased up to 15 years, instead of 5 years. It was decided in the meeting that special initiatives should be taken on missed children cases and no lethargic attitude would be tolerated in routine immunization.

Dr Azra Pechuho stressed upon a massive media campaign so that the parents might be sensitised on the issue and to ensure them that Polio campaigns were in their own interest and in this regard no one could deny the importance of social networking.

She also asked the officers concerned to report fake messages on polio to FIA cybercrime cell to discourage wrong messages. She briefed to Rotary International Foundation delegation on security measures taken for the protection of polio teams.

It was also observed in the meeting that interprovincial migration was also a cause of polio virus in Sindh. It was also told that polio desks in all hospitals had been established and at Sindh- Punjab and Sindh-Balochistan boarders such facilities were also being provided.