KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday directed the health department to resume the polio eradication initiative on July 20 so that the crippling virus could be eradicated with the ongoing drive to contain Covid-19 in the province.
He said this while presiding over a provincial task force meeting for polio eradication here at CM House.
The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Nasir Shah, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar and other relevant officials.
Briefing the chief minister, a senior health official said there were 58 cases of polio in the country — 20 in Sindh, 21 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 14 in Balochistan and three in Punjab. The most recent case in Sindh was reported on June 9.
The chief minister was told that Covid-19 negatively impacted the polio eradication initiative in Pakistan for certain reasons.
It was stated that an average of 700,000 children under five years of age could be vaccinated monthly. Without any vaccination, transmission begins to spread geographically from September with most transmission focused in northern, central and southern corridors and Karachi.
Care has been taken not to introduce Covid-19 to communities not infected previously. Polio workers will be screened for symptoms to reduce risk to households; health workers have been urged to use face masks and hand sanitizer and ensure limited physical contact. Risk to polio workers can be significantly reduced by: being from the same community, avoiding contact with symptomatic individuals and reducing unnecessary contacts.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2020