National polio drive announced after detection of three cases

Published May 17, 2022
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: As three cases of polio have been reported after a gap of 15 months, the national polio programme has decided to launch a campaign across the country to boost the immunity level of 43.3 million children up to the age of five years.

Moreover, considering a massive movement across the Afghan border, it has been decided to synchronise the campaign with Afghanistan.

Earlier, the campaign had to be held at sub-national level or in selected union councils but after detection of the recent cases it has been decided to conduct it across the country.

Minister for National Health Services (NHS) Abdul Qadir Patel on Monday said the government was committed to eradicating the virus and will take all possible steps to achieve the target.

Considering massive movement across border, govt decides to synchronise campaign with Afghanistan, says official

He appealed to the parents to ensure that the vaccine would be administered to their children so that they would not be paralysed for the rest of their life.

Mr Patel also urged the media and civil society to play their role for creating public awareness about the crippling disease.

“It is our moral and religious responsibility to eradicate the disease once and for all,” he said.

An official of the Ministry of NHS said the campaign will be conducted from May 23 to 27. As many as 43.3 million children under five years will also be given vitamin-A. He said that around 340,000 frontline workers will participate in the campaign.

On January 27, Pakistan marked a major milestone with no wild polio case reported for one year. But experts said there was still an imminent risk of poliovirus to any unvaccinated child across the border as children were moving with families and Pakistan and Afghanistan were the only two countries left with the virus.

However, during last few weeks, three cases of polio have been reported from North Waziristan.

Meanwhile, the toll-free Helpline 1166 and 24/7 WhatsApp polio helpline 0346-777-65-46 will be available to assist parents and caregivers.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2022

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