MIRAMSHAH, March 4: The authorities organised a football tournament in North Waziristan Agency to persuade parents to administer anti-polio vaccine to their children below five years of age.

“Administration of two drops of oral vaccine to children in every campaign is must. Any laxity by the parents may expose their children to the danger of permanent disabilities,” Dr Rahim Nawaz, agency surgeon, told a gathering on the final day of the tournament here on Sunday.

The final of the first-ever Polio Eradication Football Tournament was played between Civil Colony and Bazaar teams. The Civil Colony team won the match by 3-1.

Football lovers watched the match with enthusiasm. Banners and posters were displayed at the venue to create awareness among people about polio and importance of oral drops. The drive against polio will be launched on March 14 in the tribal region.

Dr Rahim said that North Waziristan Agency that recorded 14 cases out of the total 57, detected in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), hadn’t any polio-affected child that year.

He said that 160,000 children would be administered anti-polio drops in the agency during the campaign.

Political Agent Yahya Akhunzada said on the occasion that it was responsibility of parents to cooperate with the health workers for the sake of future of their children.

He said that the support extended by religious leaders and tribal elders in the vaccination drive would lead to eradication of poliomyelitis that hit the agency hard last year.

“The responsibility also lies with ulema to scale up people’s awareness level regarding the significance of vaccination,” the official said, adding that the administration wouldn’t spare those involved in creating hurdles in the campaign.

He directed health officials to take stern action against vaccinators showing poor performance.

Later, Mr Akhunzada gave away trophies and cash prizes of Rs25,000 and Rs20,000 to captains of the winner and runner-up teams respectively.

He said that using sports for promotion of vaccination was a right step and such activities should continue to raise awareness about the preventive measures required for other ailments.

“Healthy children can play a role in the development of their area and country in the future,” he said. The government, he said, was taking all measures to protect children from ailments.

Dr Faraz Khan said on the occasion that free medicines and diagnostic services were being provided to patients by TB Control Programme.

He asked people having two week cough history, sputum, evening shivers or chest pain to visit the hospitals and undergo tests, including X-ray chest and sputum microscopy to exclude tuberculosis as a cause.

“Tuberculosis is totally curable provided the patients continue treatment for eight months,” he said.

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