DADU: Sindh health department has failed to administer polio vaccine to around 52,000 children in flood-hit union councils of Sawaro, Wahi Pandhi, Tando Rahimyar Khan, Chhinni, Drigh Bala and Kamal Khan in Kachho mountainous region.
Dadu district health officer (DHO) Dr Zahid Hussain Dawachh said that the department had planned to administer polio drops to 330,000 children in the district but the teams could not reach eight flood-hit union councils of Kachho because link roads leading to villages were not motorable.
He said that floodwaters still submerged some places and entire villages of Kachho which had created insurmountable difficulties for the teams to reach villagers.
He said that the department had achieved 100 per cent target in other parts of the district and the teams successfully administered polio drops to 278,000 children at Dadu, Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah talukas.
He said that the teams would start administering polio drops to children in the flood-hit villages of Kachho after 10th of Muharram (Ashura). He had informed senior health officials about the situation in Kachho villages and assured them that the teams had been constituted for the drive and as soon as rainwater drained out and all link roads became motorable, the polio drive would be started in Kachho without wasting a day, he said.
Former nazim of Sawaro union council Allah Yar Rodhnani said that if the drive was not started in time 52,000 children of the area would face health risks. The Sindh government should make serious efforts to begin the drive in flood-hit villages at the earliest, he added.
Residents of Kachho Nazeer Ahmed, Shah Mohammad and Juman complained that people in the flood-hit villages were already deprived of basic facilities of drinking water, education and health because of the flood and if polio drive too was postponed it would expose their already vulnerable children to health risks.
Haji Murad Rodhnani demanded the Sindh government arrange camels and donkeys for the polio teams and ask them to reach the villages by riding the animals to start the drive. The villagers would cooperate with the health department wholeheartedly if the teams took the trouble to travel on camels, donkeys, he said.
Nazeer Ahmed Leghari said that all parents would cooperate with the health department if the polio teams reached their homes to administer drops.
Haji Urs Jamali advised minister for health and secretary to launch the drive at the healthcare facilities functioning in Kachho and assured that parents would bring their children to the facilities to have their loved ones administered polio drops.
He claimed that despite receiving massive funds from WHO for the purpose, the health department always looked for pretexts to avoid launching the drive in Kachho.
He said that they were ready to bring their children to taluka hospitals in Johi or Dadu to get them vaccinated against drops, if the teams were not ready to come to their villages.
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2020