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ISLAMABAD: In light of the recommendations made by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB), national and international polio partners on Wednesday decided to increase the number of polio workers in the federal capital by 38pc.

Local elected representatives were also directed to ensure every child up to the age of five in their respective constituencies is administered polio drops during the campaign which starts Dec 18.

IMB works on behalf of international donor agencies and issues reports regarding the performance of countries every six months. It has declared the twin cities a new home for polio.

Its report released last week said that the polio program was not reaching 11 slums in the federal capital.

“Despite major efforts, the virus has stubbornly persisted among communities in Islamabad and neighbouring Rawalpindi. Slum areas, with high population density and highly mobile populations, have a high turnover of staff during vaccination rounds. Parts of the municipal services provision in the capital are especially vulnerable in that they have some difficulties with the management and accountability of government workers,” the report says.

Local admin to increase number of polio workers after IMB report calls twin cities new home for polio

During a meeting chaired by Islamabad Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz, which was attended by concerned officials from Rawalpindi and the polio program, it was decided to increase the number of polio workers, especially women, in order to achieve the desired results.

The next polio campaign which is being launched in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and other partner organisations will be conducted from Dec 18 to 24.

“The Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad will depute 387 workers instead of 280 workers. During the upcoming campaign, the number of women polio workers has also been increased in order to achieve the desired results. Some 243 posts for polio workers have been approved which will permanently resolve the issue of human resource shortage for the polio campaign,” the mayor said.

A large number of children do not receive polio vaccinations in the federal capital during polio campaigns and almost every time, cases are registered against people who refuse to vaccinate their children.

The Islamabad mayor announced that during the upcoming campaign, elected representatives will be deputed to ensure every child up to the age of five is given the vaccine.

An official of the polio program said the involvement of elected representatives in the polio campaign is a good step because they can better convince people to give their children polio drops.

“However, the mayor should make sure the elected representatives remain on the field and cooperate with the polio staff or it will not be possible to eradicate the virus from the federal capital,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2017

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