ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell has come up with recommendations for high-risk areas to eradicate the crippling disease from the country.
The cell in its recommendations stressed the need for high quality campaigns and accountability mechanisms. Moreover, it suggested that the confidence and sense of security among the frontline health workers should be restored and maintained.
Know more: Third party to monitor polio campaigns
In its report sent to the provinces and all stakeholders, the cell stated that during the current year the total number of polio cases in the country had reached 206 compared to 58 in the corresponding period in 2013.
Moreover, the number of infected districts/towns/tribal agencies is now 26 which was 18 last year.
The report stated that 86.4 per cent (178) of the total 206 cases had been reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata together - 41.2 per cent (85) from North and South Waziristan agencies and 22.8 per cent (47) are from Khyber Agency alone.
For North and South Waziristan agencies and Fata, the cell said the key to stop the polio outbreak there was to ensure consistent access to all the children by taking on-board all the stakeholders and strengthening the civil-military coordination.
Moreover, the population immunity level should be ensured in the areas surrounding the polio reservoirs. Besides, the vaccinators should be provided foolproof security to restore and maintain the confidence and the sense of security among them.
It is recommended that the administration in Peshawar should conduct all the planned vaccination rounds on time and with highest quality to ensure that the gains made through the intensified vaccination rounds during the low season are not lost.
The migrant mobile populations, including the IDPs, must be given due focus during the supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) as well as the routine vaccinations. The high-risk populations having clusters of refusals must be given due focus.
Mardan, Nowshera and Tank
It is suggested that intensified routine vaccination activities must be conducted across KP, including Mardan, Nowshera, Tank and all priority-1 districts. The migrant mobile populations, including the IDPs, should be given due focus during the SIAs as well as the routine vaccination.
Gadap and Bin Qasim Towns in Karachi
The report called for ensuring high quality SIAs in all high-risk areas, especially targeting the priority populations in Karachi, to achieve the highest quality vaccination through a secure environment for the vaccinators.
It is suggested that the provincial health and administrative leadership should closely monitor the response campaigns’ preparation and implementation phases to ensure quality.
Intensified routine vaccination activities must be conducted across Quetta. The permanent transit vaccination posts must be appropriated regularly to ensure all the children on the move are vaccinated. High-risk populations having clusters of refusals must be given due focus during the vaccination activities.
Since Sheikhupura is outside the active viral transmission zone, it is proposed to conduct three vaccination rounds within 4-6 weeks after a polio case is received. The provincial health and administrative leadership should closely monitor the campaign preparations and implementation to ensure the highest quality. The high-risk populations must be given focus during the vaccination activities.
An official of the PM cell requesting anonymity said polio can be eradicated from the country if all the stakeholders followed the recommendations in letter and spirit.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2014