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RAWALPINDI: Deputy Commissioner Talat Mehmood Gondal inaugurated a polio vaccination campaign by vaccinating children under the age of five in his camp office on Saturday.

The event was arranged by the District Health Authority at the deputy commissioner’s office instead of a union council dispensary because the condition of dispensaries in the garrison city has not improved.

“It is routine for the deputy commissioner or another senior official of the district administration to launch the drive in the deputy commissioner’s office by inviting children to the office,” a senior district administration official told Dawn.

He said an informal event was held on Saturday, but the drive will be launched formally within the district on Monday, Jan 15.

District Officer Health Dr Abdul Jabbar, World Health Organisation coordinator Dr Sarwar, representatives of allied departments and other concerned officers were present at the informal launch on Saturday.

At the event, Mr Gondal urged government departments to work together to end polio within the district.“With the coordinated efforts of all government departments we have not seen any polio-affected case in Rawalpindi in the last seven years,” he said.

He added that the provision of a healthy environment to the people was the Punjab government’s foremost priority, but harmonised efforts by the government and the community are needed to make the region polio-free.

He said polio vaccination campaigns have been carried out in the district frequently and under strict monitoring, and awareness campaigns are also being launched in this regard to address people’s reservations and the myths attached to polio vaccinations, which have affected the results of anti-polio activities.

Sharing details of the arrangements for the vaccination campaign, which will be conducted between Jan 15 and Jan 19, health authority officials said the target for the campaign is to vaccinate 840,000 children below the age of five. A total of 2,333 mobile teams and 287 fixed and 119 transit points have been established.

A total of 2,739 teams have been designated for this task, and health officers will monitor the progress of the campaign while security for campaign workers has also been arranged.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2018