LAHORE: Punjab is all set to roll out its second national polio immunisation campaign of the year from Oct 2 (tomorrow) all over the province, head of the polio programme in Punjab and Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Mr Khizer Afzaal said in a statement on Saturday.

In Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad, the campaign will continue for seven days while in other districts it will last five days.

“It is alert to keeping the province polio-free. Therefore, it is taking concrete steps to ensure that quality of the NIDs is of highest standards. It is ensuring that high-risk mobile population children are vaccinated at transit points,” said the EOC head.

Mr Khizer praised the contribution of polio workers saying the programme’s health workers were on the forefront and continue to approach children in some of the hardest to reach areas with the singular goal to reach every last child.

He reiterated that multiple doses of polio drops offered the best protection against polio virus and every single child needed to be vaccinated in order to achieve population immunity and prevent virus circulation if we were to eradicate polio from infected zones.

The EOC head has appealed to the parents to welcome polio teams whenever they come to knock at their doorsteps.

Nearly 204,000 polio workers and supervisors will participate in the drive to immunise 21.26 million children under the age of five against polio.

This includes 16,575 area in-charges, 3,985 union council medical officers, over 169,000 mobile polio team members, 4,868 fixed team members and over 2,700 transit team members.Punjab is free of polio cases for nearly three years since October 2020, which is an achievement of the programme.

However, as evident from the genomic sampling of virus in Lahore and Rawalpindi environmental samples, Punjab is at the risk of virus importation.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2023

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