RAWALPINDI: After a gap of one year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday declared the garrison city sewage free from poliovirus for the month of May.
The WHO took two samples from different places of Leh Nullah to determine the presence of poliovirus every month. On May 2, it collected two environment samples from the nullah at Dhoke Dalal and Safdarabad.
However, no poliovirus was found in the sewage.
Usually, the samples are taken from high-risk union councils adjacent to I.J. Principal Road near Pirwadhai.
The area had been declared by WHO and local administration as high risk for transmission of poliovirus as people mostly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are settled in these union councils.
An official of WHO told Dawn that the environment samples were collected from the high-risk areas across the country to check the poliovirus.
“There is no poliovirus found in the sewage of the garrison city at least for May after a year,” he said.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Ali Randhawa said the city’s sewage was declared polio free after a year.
He said for a year the district administration had been working hard to administer polio drops to each and every child, especially in the 28 high risk union councils.
The district health department faced problems during the anti-polio drive last month after the Peshawar incident in which a video went viral on social media claiming children had fainted after receiving polio drops in Peshawar.
However, a senior official of the district health department said mostly people along I.J. Principal Road, including Hazara Colony, Ziaul Haq Colony and Dhoke Hasu, had refused to allow anti-polio drops to their children.
On the other hand, the deputy commissioner said in Rawalpindi some parents refused but the district health authority and the administration managed to convince them to allow the vaccinators to administer anti-polio drops to their children.
“The new anti-polio drive will start in the garrison city after Ramazan,” he said.
He said two more drives in the garrison city had been planned before the monsoon season.
The campaigns will also focus 160,000 children in 28 high risk union councils across the district.
“The Punjab government has asked the health department to submit a report about the anti-polio drive once in a month. However, the chief secretary also reviews the outcome twice a month in all the districts, including Rawalpindi,” he said.
Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2019