Week-long polio drive begins in Karachi today

Published January 21, 2019
More than 13,000 polio teams will be dispatched to immunise a target 2.3 million children under the age of five. ─ File photo
More than 13,000 polio teams will be dispatched to immunise a target 2.3 million children under the age of five. ─ File photo

KARACHI: A week-long polio campaign, part of the National Immunisation Days (NID) is set to kick-start on Monday across the city like the rest of the country. The campaign aims to target 2.3 million children aged less than five years in the city’s 192 union councils, officials said.

The campaign was the first of the year that fell in the country’s NIDs effort, they added.

More than 13,000 polio teams would be marching on the city’s streets and will visit every house to immunise children aged less than five.

Officials said city commissioner Iftikhar Shawllani, who is also chairman of the task force for eradication of polio formed by the Sindh government, would inaugurate the campaign.

The commissioner chaired a meeting of the task force at his office which reviewed the arrangements for an effective campaign.

Officials said the meeting discussed the micro plan on polio and announced that comprehensive arrangements for the campaign had been finalised for Monday’s effort.

Those involved include the coordinator of the emergency operation centre for polio in Sindh, all deputy commissioners, senior officials from police and paramilitary Rangers, district and town health officers, representatives of the international partners including WHO, Unicef, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary Club.

The meeting was informed that the polio virus found in the sewage was still circulating in some parts of the high risk union councils. It added efforts were being made for complete elimination of the virus through administrating polio boosters to children aged five or below.

The deputy commissioners were asked to ensure that children were vaccinated with close coordination among officials and representatives according to the micro plan.

He said the strategy should be focused to ensure that poliovirus circulation was interrupted successfully during the campaign.

The team leader of the WHO expressed his satisfaction over those efforts saying such efforts in the city had improved and results vis-à-vis minimising the missed children and those whose parents had refused vaccination had tangibly reduced. He hoped the work with the same spirit and dedication for the eradication of the crippling disease would continue.

The commissioner endorsed the views of the international partners saying “we should not lax until polio is eradicated completely”.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2019

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