Anti-polio drive commences: Over 38 million children to be vaccinated

ISLAMABAD: A four-day countrywide polio immunization drive started on Monday during which over 38 million children of under five year of age will be administered ant-polio drops.

Around 270, 000 Sehat Muhafiz are taking part in the door-to-door drive to administer anti-polio drops to children in different parts of the country.

Prime Minister Focal Person on Polio Babar Bin Atta said reaching and vaccinating every child was not easy task but the government was committed to ensure that no more children suffer from the incurable disease.

He invited every countryman to come forward and play role for success of polio immunization drive making Pakistan free from polio virus.

He added the country could not afford to have further new polio cases as the virus still exists only in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said, “We are working on a plan with joint strategy to stop polio virus.”

He said that the polio vaccine was safe, efficacious, and approved and appealed the parents to immunize their children in every round of immunization campaign.

He asked Sehat Muhafiz team members to ensure that every child gets two drops of polio vaccine during the drive and that no single child is left. He added besides going door-to-door, the health workers will also immunize children at major crossings, bus stops, hospitals, stations and other fixed points.

“With only eight polio cases reported in 2018, Pakistan stands the best chance of getting rid of the crippling virus forever. Every Pakistani must now assume the role of a Sehat Muhafiz to ensure vaccination of all children during every campaign“, says PM’s Focal Person.

He said in recently reported cases, three cases were reported from District Dukki from Balochistan, one from Charsadda from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one from Gadap, Karachi from Sindh, one from Khyber area and two cases from Bajour.

He said still more efforts are required to control the polio virus as the polio virus presence in sewage water was confirmed in November in Karachi and Sukkur in Sindh, Peshawar and Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Lahore and Rawalpindi in Punjab, and the Federal Capital Islamabad.

National Coordinator for Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Dr Rana Safdar said with vital on-the-ground experience in some of the most challenging settings, Sehat Muhafiz are determined to ensure vaccination of every child.

“Our front line workers have built strong rapport in their respective communities for polio eradication. They understand the dynamics of the population, even as they relate to children, not only at the district level but also at the union council and village level.”

This indigenous knowledge coupled with community trust can definitely play an instrumental role to stop polio, Dr Rana Safdar added.