PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has renewed commitment for polio eradication, saying quality campaigns will be carried out to stop virus transmission in the region and safeguard children from the crippling disease.
He said this while inaugurating a three days anti-polio drive in 21 districts of the province at Chief Minister’s House here on Wednesday.
Minister for Health Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Health Secretary Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah and representatives of UN agencies were also present on the occasion, said a statement.
The chief minister said that it was unfortunate that Pakistan was among the last two endemic countries along with Afghanistan that were still struggling with poliovirus transmission while the rest of the world successfully eradicated it.
However, he said that they made good achievement in the fight against polio as last year there were 47 wild polio cases whereas in the current year 22 cases were registered while the number of infected districts decreased from 10 to six.
Mahmood Khan inaugurates vaccination drive in 21 districts
Mr Khan said that Hazara division, where an outbreak of polio was reported last years, was polio-free now owing to quality campaigns.
He added that out of 22 polio cases, 21 were registered in southern district whereas the rest of the province had only one case.
He said that after the August round of campaign in 21 districts, they hoped that with the support of parents and cross segments there would be marked decrease in polio cases and the goal of polio-free Pakistan would be achieved by 2021.
Paying rich tributes to the frontline workers, the chief minister said that they were the real heroes and the success of the programme banked on their performance under the overarching guidance and supervision of emergency operations centre, health department, district administration and line departments.
Speaking on the occasion, Taimur Saleem Jhagra said that the August round of anti-polio drive was planned in 21 districts of the province including Bajaur, Bannu, Buner, Charsadda, Dera Ismail Khan, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Hangu, Karak, Khyber, Kohat, Kurram, Lakki Marwat, Mardan, Nowshera, Orakzai, Peshawar, Swabi, Tank, North Waziristan and South Waziristan.
The minister said that a total of 4.56 million children would be administered anti-polio drops in the campaign for which14,435 mobile teams were constituted while vaccination would also be carried out at 1,229 fixed sites.
He added that a total of 7,353 monitors would supervise the campaign to ensure quality services and address operational and logistic challenges.
“We have introduced necessary adjustments in operational strategies with the objective to further minimise the risk of spread of coronavirus,” said Mr Jhagra. He added that teams would be provided with masks and hand sanitizers.
He said that the teams were advised to avoid touching child during vaccination, rather parent or caregiver should hold the child.
Earlier, Chief Ministar Mehmood Khan administered anti-polio vaccine to children to formally inaugurate the August round of the drive in selected districts of the province.
Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2020