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Anti-polio campaign to focus on refusal cases in KP

Updated July 15, 2019

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614,590 children to be inoculated in Torghar and Shangla districts. 1 AFP/File
614,590 children to be inoculated in Torghar and Shangla districts. 1 AFP/File

PESHAWAR: The health authorities are launching a four-day vaccination campaign in the areas, which have recorded poliomyelitis cases recently with main focus on the families defying immunisation to safeguard their children from being crippled.

The drive will be kicked off on Monday during which some 614,590 children will be inoculated in Torghar and Shangla, the surrounding districts of Hazara and Malakand divisions. The vaccinators will also cover the missed children on the fourth day of the drive, says a press release.

The campaign will be conducted under the supervision of commissioners, deputy commissioners and district health officers with support of police and members of the law enforcement agencies.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is in spotlight because several polio cases have been reported from Bannu division. The number of polio cases has soared to 33 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and to 41 in the country during 2019, so far. Main reasons of increase in polio cases have been routine-immunisation-zero-dosed children and refusal cases.

614,590 children to be inoculated in Torghar and Shangla districts

First case response campaign was successfully carried out in June, whereas, to completely put an end to this outbreak, three case response campaigns have been decided including the one, which will be conducted in the days to come.

Kamran Ahmed Afridi, the coordinator of Emergency Operations Centre Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that the case response campaign successfully conducted in June 2019 put a hold to polio cases as no case was reported with onset date after the completion of the campaign.

“This case response campaign is also crucial for stopping the outbreak and transmission of poliovirus as well as saving children from paralysis in the upcoming days,” he said.

Mr Afridi said that it was witnessed that parents, believing in propaganda and lies against vaccination, refused anti-polio drops or left their children zero dosed.

“Oral polio vaccines are the safest and most effective. It is the way to secure our children against polio disease and eradicate poliovirus,” he added.

He advised the teams to reach and vaccinate every child during the campaign as wild poliovirus was still circulating in the region that could attack any unimmunised child.

Age appropriate vaccination maximises the benefits of immunisation if the parents follow the essential immunisation schedule offered in all of their nearby health facilities against 10 vaccine-preventable diseases including tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis and measles.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2019