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No vaccination drive in Waziristan due to Taliban ban

Updated March 11, 2014

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File photo
File photo

PESHAWAR: A three-day anti-polio drive started on Monday across the Federally Administered Tribal Area (Fata) except North and South Waziristan Agencies and parts of adjoining FR Bannu due to a Taliban ban. The drive targets about 713,051 children below five years of age.

Meanwhile, in Mohmand Agency, the campaign will begin on Tuesday, while it was deferred till March 17 in Khyber Agency due to an ongoing army action against militants there.

Secretary social sector Fata Capt (retd) Sardar Mohammad Abbas inaugurated the campaign by administering oral polio vaccine to children at the Fata Secretariat here.

According to a press release, the vaccinators will not visit the areas where militants had banned drops due to threats.

A total of 2,324 mobile, 245 fixed and 72 transit teams comprising volunteers and vaccinators would administer drops to targeted children in the tribal areas under strict security arrangements, said the press release.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Abbas called upon the people to take active part in anti-polio campaign to ensure that all the targeted children got immunised to protect them from the crippling ailment.

Director health services Fata Dr Pervez Kamal and WHO’s Dr Sarfaraz Khan Afridi also spoke on the occasion.

Fata recorded 24 polio cases of the nationwide 27 cases in 2014. Of them, 21 are from North Waziristan and one from South Waziristan while three children are from whole of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In 2013, Fata accounted for 67 polio cases of the total 93 recorded in Pakistan. North Waziristan again recorded the highest number of 36 cases followed by Khyber with 20 and South Waziristan one, as children couldn’t be vaccinated due to a ban slapped by Taliban in June 2012.

Meanwhile, in Mohmand Agency, a total of 89,713 children will be vaccinated in the anti-polio drive to be started on Tuesday (today), said EPI coordinator Dr Shabir Ahmad.

KHAR: The anti-polio drive was launched in Bajaur Agency amid tight security to ensure safety of health workers. Political Agent Syed Abdul Jabbar Shah asked the health department to speed up its activities and also involve tribal elders and religious leaders to make the anti-polio drive a success.

Field supervisor medical officer, Bajaur Dr Inayatur Rahman told reporters that 636 teams would take part in the three day effort to vaccinate in 227,000 children in the agency.

He said the local administration had taken extraordinary security arrangements for the protection of polio teams.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shaukatullah Khan directed the relevant authorities to ensure involvement of communities in vaccination campaign to eradicate polio from Fata.

He visited the Fata Polio Control Room on Monday where he said government was committed to eliminating polio from the region. In this connection, every effort was being made to ensure child vaccination to save them from the crippling virus, he added, according to a press release issued here.

Mr Shaukatullah said relevant authorities should remain in constant contact with agency headquarters hospitals to ensure smooth supplies of quality vaccines.

He was also informed that there was no issue of refusals in Fata except few areas of Khyber and Waziristan Agencies. He was informed that Fata Secretariat was approaching the relevant quarters to remove constraints in specific areas.