Murad launches five-day polio-eradication campaign

Published December 17, 2019
A PARAMEDIC administers anti-polio vaccines to children in a train compartment at the Cantt railway station on Monday.—White Star
A PARAMEDIC administers anti-polio vaccines to children in a train compartment at the Cantt railway station on Monday.—White Star

KARACH: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that December 16 is an unfortunate date in the history of Pakistan on which the nation faced the fall of Dhaka in 1971, witnessed killing of 132 innocent children in the Army Public School attack in 2014 and now the nation was facing crippling virus of polio in which 104 cases have been detected all over Pakistan.

“I think Dec 16 is the date on which we have to reiterate our national commitment to eradicate polio and evolve a strategy to prevent incidents like the Army Public School attack.”

This he said while talking to the media on Monday just after inaugurating a five-day polio eradication drive by administering polio drops to children at the Jannat Gul Hospital, UC-4, Gadap.

The chief minister, who was accompanied by Information Minister Saeed Ghani, recalling that on this day (Dec 16) innocent children were killed in the APS, Peshawar. “I pray for the children who lost their lives and also pray to Almighty Allah to grant courage to their parents to come out of the pain which is alive in the heart and soul of everyone of us.”

‘Every child coming to Sindh is our child and we have to take care of him’

Mr Shah said that he had been chairing a meeting before the start of every campaign. “My efforts had borne fruit and we had only two cases of polio last year, 2018, but this year has become quite horrible for us with the emergence of 16 cases in Sindh,” he said and added that these new cases had emerged because of the migration from Afghanistan, Peshawar and Balochistan. But “I won’t make it an excuse — every child coming to Sindh is our child and we have to take care of him.”

The chief minister said that after a gap of six months, this fresh campaign had been launched today (till Dec 20), and it would be our utmost effort to achieve the target of giving polio vaccines to all the 9,087,234 children under five.

He said that a proper inquiry had been conducted to trace each and every polio case, its causes and origin. “The inquiries have revealed that most of the cases have happened in the Gadap area and the reason is travelling,” he said and added that he decided to launch the campaign from Gadap.

Mr Shah said the prime minister had held a meeting on polio eradication a year ago and he had urged him to keep holding such meetings so that this menace could be eradicated. “I don’t know whether more meetings were held by the prime minister or not, but we have to wage war against this crippling virus.”

Answering a question, Mr Shah said that after the emergence of 16 new cases in the province, he had changed the strategy by involving all the elected representatives right from union council to provincial assembly members. “Our health minister had given briefing to all the assembly members and requested them to [be involved] personally so that we can defeat polio,” he said.

The chief minister said that refusals would not be accepted this time. He urged every parent to cooperate with the polio workers and ensure proper vaccination to their children. “This is our collective responsibility to administer polio vaccine to our children,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Shah launched the polio-eradication drive by administering polio drops to children.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2019

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