Anti-polio drive launched in Lahore, Rawalpindi after positive sampling

Published September 5, 2023
A health official administers drops to a child in Dhoke Dalal in Rawalpindi during an anti-polio drive on Monday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
A health official administers drops to a child in Dhoke Dalal in Rawalpindi during an anti-polio drive on Monday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

RAWALPINDI: After environmental samples tested positive in Rawalpindi, an anti-polio campaign was launched on Monday.

During the outbreak response (OBR) drive, 29 union councils of Lahore and four tehsils of Rawalpindi district would be covered for seven days. The last two days will be dedicated to children who were not available during the visits of polio teams earlier.

More than 7,400 polio workers will participate in the drive to immunise 0.78 million children under the age of five.Punjab Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has deployed stakeholders from all areas to facilitate implementation of the campaign in priority areas.

“Although there is no polio case in Punjab, wild poliovirus has been found to be circulating in environmental samples of mega cities,” said an official of the health department.

“The campaign will play an important role in preventing poliovirus transmission,” he added.In July and August, Pakistan’s national laboratory confirmed presence of polioviruses in environmental sites of Lahore and Rawalpindi.

The viruses were found to be genetically linked to the cluster in Afghanistan.

In response to the positive samples, Punjab recently wrapped up a campaign in Attock, Rawalpindi and Mianwali after vaccinating nearly two million children.

As per the SOPs, three responses need to be conducted to block poliovirus spread in the wake of positive environmental samples. This is the second response in Rawalpindi and first in Lahore after detection of the polioviruses.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2023

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