Drive against polio in twin cities resumes after seven months

Updated 22 Sep 2020

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An MCI health worker administers the polio vaccine to a child in France Colony, in Islamabad’s F-7 sector on Monday. — Mohammad Asim
An MCI health worker administers the polio vaccine to a child in France Colony, in Islamabad’s F-7 sector on Monday. — Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: Polio immunisation efforts resumed in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad after seven months on Monday.

In Islamabad, the vaccination campaign was inaugurated by Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz, who told the press at Musharraf Colony in G-8 that the vaccine will be administered to around 350,000 children up to the age of five. He said the campaign would end on Sept 25, with two catch-up days included.

Mayor Aziz said that standard operating procedure (SOP) to limit the spread of Covid-19 will be observed during the vaccination campaign.

He urged parents to ensure their children are vaccinated, adding that 2,200 workers are participating in the campaign.

In response to a question, Mayor Aziz said that steps are being taken to curb the spread of dengue, and fumigation is being carried out regularly in this regard.

However, he added that the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad is in the midst of a severe financial crunch as the federal government is not interested in empowering the local government.

Rawalpindi

The five-day polio vaccination campaign began in Rawalpindi district with 2,000 police officials deployed for the security of 580 polio teams.

More than 875,000 children aged five and below will be administered the polio vaccine by health department teams during a five-day vaccination campaign, during which Covid-19 SOP will be followed.

The campaign was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq, who administered the vaccine to a child at a basic health unit in Rawalpindi tehsil.

Chaudhry Mohammad Hussain, who is in charge of the vaccination campaign, told Dawn that 2,631 polio teams are participating in the effort.

A police spokesperson said 2,000 personnel have been deployed with 580 teams for their security. He said 77 transit points have been set up where teams will vaccinate children, and sub-divisional police officers will supervise the effort in their jurisdiction.

Attock

The five-day national polio immunisation campaign has been launched in Attock to administer polio drops to 200,000 children - under the age of five - across the district.

As many as 953 teams have been constituted to administer polio vaccines to children under the supervision of representatives from provincial, federal health authorities and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to sources in the health department, the campaign was launched on the directives of provincial authorities after a case of vaccine-derived type 2 poliovirus (VDPV2) emerged in the district on July 12 earlier this year.

Deputy Commissioner Ali Anan Qamar formally inaugurated the drive by administering polio drops to a child at Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital, Fatehjang. He urged the public, especially parents of children under the age of five, to cooperate with officials from the health department to make the campaign a success. “The government will make sure that poliovirus circulation is interrupted during the current year,” he said.

Teams will go door to door to administer polio drops and this facility will be provided at all the entry and exit points of the district, he said, adding mobile teams will be provided adequate security.

He directed all assistant commissioners to coordinate with deputy district health officers for administering the vaccination campaign in their areas.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2020