LANDI KOTAL/KHAR: A three-day polio vaccination campaign began in three tehsils of Khyber Agency on Monday amid tight security.
The campaign was launched in the agency after a break of two months.
Local health officials said 124 health teams accompanied by over 200 khasadar and levies personnel would vaccinate 127,000 children under the age of five years in the volatile Bara and Jamrud tehsil and relatively peaceful Landi Kotal tehsil.
They said 113 of the teams were mobile, while the rest would administer anti-polio drops to children at entry and exit points of the three tehsils.
The authorities had earlier carried out the Sehat Mand Khyber Programme in Bara in four phases along with lines of the Sehat ka Insaf Programme in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.For the successful execution of the programme funded by the UAE government, the army, FC and khasadar and levies personnel provided health teams with strict security.
According to the authorities, they reached out to over 40,000 children during the two days door-to-door campaign in almost all localities of Bara.
Local residents, however, insisted the teams covered the roadside houses only during the campaign over threat from militant organisations.
Until now this year, Khyber Agency has reported 13 polio cases, including 11 in Bara tehsil and two in Tirah valley.
Agency surgeon Dr Rehman Afridi told Dawn that health teams had already been dispatched to Bagh-Maidan and surrounding areas of Tirah valley with a focus on inaccessible areas of Bara.
The health teams had struggled to vaccinate children in parts of Jamrud, where militants targeted anti-polio workers in the recent months. However, the workers agreed to Anti-polio drive in Khyber after two months break resume duty after the administration promised them strict security.
In Bajaur Agency, too, the three-day anti-polio campaign began on Monday amid tight security.
Political agent Abdul Jabbar Shah inaugurated the campaign by administering oral polio vaccine to children during a special function at the Agency Headquarters Hospital, Khar.
Tribal elders, senior health officials, the World Health Organisation representative and social activists were in attendance.
The political agent said the administration was committed to eradicating polio from the agency.
He said the security situation was good in the agency, so vaccination campaign could be carried out without difficulty.
“We’ve made foolproof security arrangements for the campaign for the safety of anti-polio workers across the agency,” he said.
Shah urged health officials and tribal elders to play due role in the fight against polio.
Also in the day, agency surgeon Dr Zakir Hussain told reporters here that 694 mobile, fixed and transit teams had been formed for the vaccination of 225,286 children during the campaign.
He said several teams had also been made to monitor anti-polio activities in the agency.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2014