KARACHI: A meeting was held on Friday to discuss measures for the special polio immunisation drive being launched in the province’s high-risk union councils from June 27.

The meeting, chaired by Chief Secretary Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput, was attended by Karachi Commissioner Muhammad Iqbal Memon, provincial coordinator for emergency operations Fayyaz Abbasi and WHO representatives, among others, at Sindh Secretariat.

Mr Abbasi informed the meeting that a total of 3.3 million children of high-risk UCs of Karachi, Hyderabad and other districts of Sindh would be vaccinated during the drive in which over 30,000 workers would participate.

The immunisation campaign, he said, would be followed by another drive to be launched in Larkana, Sukkur, and Shaheed Benazirabad in selected high-risk UCs from June 29.

Over 385,000 children were vaccinated against polio at the transit point of the province out of which 9,010 children belonged to south Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where this year 10 cases of the virus had been reported.

The chief secretary directed officials to ensure vaccination of every child entering the province, engage the community in the drives and counsel parents reluctant to get their children vaccinated.

No case of polio has been reported in Sindh in two years.

Govt to engage stakeholders to eliminate polio

In a move to share awareness about polio vaccination, the Sindh government has decided to involve academia, medical fraternity and pharmaceutical firms to cover all missed children and asked stakeholders to play their part in achieving target of crippling disease free Pakistan.

In a statement, the Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication Initiative, Sindh said that it had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with PharmEvo in line with constant efforts of eradicating the poliovirus in Pakistan.

“Only two countries in the world, Pakistan and Afghanistan, have active poliovirus circulation and are currently reporting polio cases,” it said.

“Pakistan has reported 10 human polio cases from North Waziristan in 2022, and even though Sindh has not reported a polio case for more than two years, while the environment samples of polio virus are also showing negative all over the province, we need to cover all missed children and involve all stakeholders to play their part if we are to see a polio-free Pakistan.”

It said that EOC for Polio Eradication and Immunisation in Sindh engages academia, and medical fraternity like Pakistan Pediatric Association, Pakistan Medical Association, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association and takes on board different stakeholders like religious scholars, political parties, etc. who can support in reaching every child for vaccination and can garner their support for defeating the virus, and the corporate sector too has a very important part to play.

Under the two-year partnership, it said, they would work together to implement various initiatives, which include displaying messaging on immunisation on pharma literature, raising its awareness through its social media platforms and allowing community engagement sessions with its workforce on the importance of inoculation.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2022

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