40 mln children received anti-polio drops in nationwide drive

ISLAMABAD:More than 40 million under-five-year old children received vaccination and around 32 million children of age 6-59 months were given vitamin A supplementation during the campaign.

According to an official of Polio Eradication Initiative, a force of 287,000 frontline Polio workers was deployed across the country for door-to-door vaccination following the strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our fight against the poliovirus was rejuvenated through the delivery of successful polio campaigns last year. Thanks to our frontline workers for their dedication and commitment to reach every households with lifesaving vaccine during the first nationwide campaign this year.”

Despite harsh weather, with the support of the parents, partners and security forces, the programme has managed to implement the campaign successfully,” said Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, the Director General Health and National Coordinator for the Polio Eradication Initiative and EPI.

“We will continue putting our efforts and energy until Pakistan is free from the polio virus. I urge the parents to prioritize their children’s vaccination against polio in the upcoming campaigns this year,” he emphasized.

Pakistan is facing a challenging situation in polio eradication with the upsurge of the number of polio cases in the previous year, however, the resumption of polio campaigns amid current COVID-19 situation has been a significant accomplishment. A total of 84 polio cases have been reported in the country.

He said that the programme takes all-out efforts to ensure essential immunization, deliver integrated services to underserved communities, and coordinate with Afghanistan for synergy in campaigns and operations to manage the spread of the poliovirus across the shared epidemiological block.

He said that through its highly committed frontline workers, support of partners and various stakeholders, the programme will aim to restrict the geographic scope of polio circulation to historically reservoir areas and get closer to eradicating Polio in 2021. The next nationwide anti-polio drive has been planned in March 2021, he added.