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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has planned to open a special counter at Bacha Khan International Airport within a day or two to issue polio vaccination certificates to passengers going abroad.

The directive for the purpose was issued by Provincial Health Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai to the health department during a meeting here on Friday.

According to a handout, the minister directed the officials to complete all the arrangements to open the counter within 24 hours. The decision came in the wake of the recent statement of World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding ban on Pakistanis travelling abroad in view of the growing number of polio cases in the country.

The minister also directed the relevant authorities to immediately convene a meeting of the airport officials to set up an anti-polio counter at the airport and to depute vaccination staff of both the health department and Civil Aviation Authority with round the clock duties in separate shifts.

Matters related to the available stock of polio vaccines in the province, purchase of required quantity of the vaccine, provision of funds for the same, number of arriving and departing passengers at various transit points of the province and arrangements for their vaccination at the transit points came under discussion.

Mr Tarkai also directed the quarters concerned to make arrangements for providing free of cost services and facilities of anti-polio vaccination and certification under one-window operation at all the district headquarters hospitals and teaching hospitals of the province.

The meeting decided to authorise the district health officers and medical superintendents of DHQ hospitals and teaching hospitals to issue the polio vaccination certificate.

Special secretary health Akbar Khan, director general health services Dr Abdul Waheed, deputy director EPI Dr Janbaz Afridi, DHO Peshawar Dr Zafar, chief executive LRH Peshawar, medical superintendents of various hospitals, and representatives of the Unicef and WHO attended the meeting.

While approving the design and contents of the polio vaccination certificate, the meeting decided that it would carry the CNIC number, passport number and vaccine batch number of the bearer.

It also decided to identify all the transit points on the borders of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with Fata and Punjab and set up polio vaccination counters there to ensure vaccination to every outgoing and incoming passenger.

Mr Tarakai asked the authorities concerned to ensure free of cost polio vaccination and certification facilities to public. He also directed the relevant quarters to ensure transparency and maintain computerised record of the whole process of certification.