ISLAMABAD: A seven-day polio campaign was launched in Islamabad on Friday during which over 400,000 children would be covered.

Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon inaugurated the drive by administering drops to children at the Rural Health Centre Tarlai.

Speaking on the occasion, the DC appealed to parents to cooperate with the teams in administering drops to their children for their healthy life and for making Pakistan a polio-free country. He said during the drive a total of 4,18,000 children will be administrated polio drops.

The last two polio endemic countries - Afghanistan and Pakistan - have reported 11 wild polio cases this year with 10 of them in Pakistan.

All the cases in Pakistan have appeared in the district of North Waziristan. Officials believe that people from North Waziristan and adjoining areas frequently visit Islamabad so there was a need for efforts to make the polio drive a success.

Speaking to Dawn, the DC said there was no case of polio in Islamabad but due to the frequent movements of people from other areas to the city, the health department conducted the campaign.

He said that last month a seven-day drive was also conducted which remained very successful with the achievement of 98pc targets.

The DC requested parents to cooperate with the polio teams as it was the joint responsibility of all stakeholders – government, health department, polio workers and parents.

“There is no side effect of polio drops, therefore, I would request parents not to use delaying tactics by telling the polio workers that they would get their kids administered polio drops from hospitals. The same vaccine is available in hospitals and with the polio workers; therefore, there should be no delay,” he said.

Recently, at the fifth meeting of WHO’s regional subcommittee on polio eradication, Federal Health Minister Qadir Patel said recent cases had made Pakistan more determined to fight the virus till its elimination.

The fifth meeting of the subcommittee was convened by WHO’s Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari.

Addressing the forum, the health minister said: “Pakistan continues to work extremely hard to reach zero polio case. The recent cases in Pakistan have made us more determined to fight the virus till its end. Since the first case appeared, the health ministry and the polio programme have been working very closely together to meet the needs of the hour and effectively interrupt poliovirus transmission,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2022

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