DERA GHAZI KHAN: A high-level meeting also attended by representatives of global health bodies was held here on Tuesday to discuss rising polio cases in DG Khan and Rajanpur.

Dera chief executive officer (health) Dr Khalil Sikhanu told Dawn that the meeting was participated in by representatives of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, health authorities of four provinces and other stakeholders.

The surfacing of three cases in Dera Ghazi Khan and one in Rajanpur this year is `very alarming’ for local as well as national and international health organisations.These two trans-Indus districts share boundaries with Balochistan but there are some disputes over the actual provincial boundary between some tribes residing on both sides. These areas are not easily accessible.

Dr Khalil said missed spots (during the past campaign) were located in disputed hilly areas on the Punjab-Balochistan boundary and Rujhan, in Rajanpur district. He said 16 districts in the country had been declared sensitive regarding polio virus. He said the issues of missed areas, vaccination, communication, coordination and operation were discussed to launch a fresh anti-polio campaign in the 16 districts. He said it was discussed that international community could impose a bar on entry of Pakistanis into their lands if we failed in war against polio. He said the next campaign with `a new spirit’ would commence on Sept 21.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020

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