Anti-polio drive kicks off across KP

Published September 18, 2021
A child is being administered oral vaccine against polio in this file photo. — AFP/File
A child is being administered oral vaccine against polio in this file photo. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The third nationwide anti-polio campaign kicked off in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday. In other areas of the country, the drive will be launched on Sept 20.

Over 40 million children under five years of age will be administered vaccination drops along with a suppleme­ntary dose of Vitamin-A capsule during the campaign.

More than 290,000 Sehat Tahafuz frontline workers will go house to house for vaccination to protect children from lifelong paralysis caused by the polio virus.

Research also shows approximately 50 per cent of all children are Vitamin-A deficient in the country, so a supplementary dose of Vitamin-A will also be included providing protection against various infections and diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia, measles and night blindness.

The campaign will start in rest of the country on 20th

“The programme has made significant gains with not a single case being reported for seven months, giving us a unique opportunity to achieve polio eradication. Now is the time to re-double our efforts and ensure we reach every eligible child with the polio vaccine to solidify this progress. Parents should open their doors to polio workers and vaccinate their children to make the way for a polio-free Pakistan,” said Dr Faisal Sultan, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health, while speaking at the launching ceremony of Polio Immunisation campaign.

“As an indication of how high a priority polio eradication is, the prime minister re­c­ently met district commi­ssioners of 20 high-risk distr­icts and directed them to pe­­r­sonally double their eff­orts to eradicate polio, and we expect to see results of that meeting in this upcoming campaign,” Dr Sultan said.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world where polio cases are still reported. The virus has been eradicated in all other countries of the world, attesting to the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

“The upcoming campaign is vital for the programme and Pakistan’s ability to achieve polio eradication,” Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordi­nator of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Initiative, said.

“We are currently going into the high transmission season during which the virus is especially active and need to ensure protection of all our children with the vaccine. It is essential to vaccinate every child in the upcoming campaign, especially all the new-born children and infants,” he said.

“We must emphasise that caregivers prioritise routine immunisation of children and visit health facilities as per schedule. Our aim is to immunise all children against vaccine-preventable diseases to protect them from life-threatening diseases,” Dr Baig said.

He claimed that Pakistan had made substantial progress towards polio eradication, with only one wild poliovirus case being reported in 2021 as compared to 75 cases reported in the same period last year.

“The significant reduction in cases is supported by a decrease in positive enviro­n­mental samples from 55 per cent to 12 per cent,” he said.

He said that poliovirus was less active in the country.

“This is one of the lowest levels of detected wild poliovirus in the history of the country. It is vital that this opportunity to finally eradicate polio from Pakistan is seized,” he said.

“We must not be complacent and now is the time to further intensify our national efforts to drive polio out of the country once and for all,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2021

Opinion

Crisis looming
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Crisis looming

It will be a terrible mistake for the PM, his acolytes to underestimate the strength of the wave that is about to hit them.
An eye-opener
21 Oct 2021

An eye-opener

A daring report by Indian savants could have been written here.
Past, present, forever
Updated 20 Oct 2021

Past, present, forever

Despite their close relationship, this is hardly the first time the PTI and the military have not been BFFs.

Editorial

Not just cricket
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Not just cricket

Hype surrounding the match — sold out as soon as tickets sales opened — has overshadowed the other games, as well as other teams.
Local governance
21 Oct 2021

Local governance

The court ruling restoring local institutions in Punjab should go a long way in ensuring the continuation of grassroots democracy.
21 Oct 2021

Breast cancer awareness

LIKE so many other issues relating to women’s health in Pakistan, breast cancer is not a subject of serious...
Opposition’s chance?
Updated 19 Oct 2021

Opposition’s chance?

What the opposition can do is take advantage of the cleavage between PTI and the establishment, perhaps widen it and leverage it.
Evading tax laws
Updated 20 Oct 2021

Evading tax laws

Challenge of tax compliance can't be dealt with without directly taxing incomes irrespective of source and punishing tax evaders.
19 Oct 2021

KCR delays

AS political and bureaucratic stakeholders drag their feet over reviving the Karachi Circular Railway, residents of...