PESHAWAR: An anti-polio campaign is going to start in South Waziristan tribal district from Monday under strict SOPs after a four-month gap due to Covid-19 pandemic.
This was disclosed by provincial health minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra while addressing a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Saturday.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic had affected all aspects of life, including the immunisation programmes, as the immediate responses to the pandemic included halting of immunisation activities, including polio vaccination campaigns, which had resulted in declined protection levels of children against vaccine-preventable diseases.
He said isolation of poliovirus from environmental surveillance sites and detection in humans indicated its widespread and persistent circulation in the province.
Mr Jhagra added the province had so far reported 63 out of the total 108 cases reported across the country (58pc) in 2020. In the current year, he said three polio cases had been reported from South Waziristan.
The health minister said ‘after detailed analysis we are convinced that the risk of spread of coronavirus through polio vaccination campaign is almost negligible and hence the government has decided to resume polio vaccination campaigns in the country’.
“I wish all the best for our hard-working frontline polio workers to save our future generations and the dignity of our beloved country,” said Mr Jahgra.
On the occasion, coordinator EOC Abdul Basit said the three-day campaign will cover all the 78 union councils, targeting over 78,000 children under the age of five.
He said a total of 609 teams would visit over 48,000 houses in the district, adding 250 supervisors and monitors would be deployed to ensure good coverage and quality campaign.
We have introduced necessary adjustments in operational strategies with the objective to further minimise the risk of spread of coronavirus, said Abdul Basit, adding teams would be provided with masks and hand sanitisers.
He said a thermal gun would be provided to every supervisor to check temperature of teams in morning before they left for vaccination. They will also assess the teams for any symptoms (flue, abdominal discomfort, sore throat) before sending team to field, he added.
Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2020