RAWALPINDI: Punjab is all set to roll out its second national polio immunisation campaign of the year on Monday, with Rawalpindi among the districts where the drive would continue for seven days.

According to coordinator of polio programme at Punjab and Emergency Operations Centre Khizer Afzaal, the campaign would span seven days in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad while it would last for five days in the rest of the districts.

“The exercise is being undertaken to keep the province polio-free and to ensure that quality of the National Immunisation Day is of the highest standards. It is also to ensure that the high-risk mobile population of children is vaccinated at transit points,” he said.

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

Approximately, 204,000 polio workers and supervisors will participate in the drive to immunise 21.26 million children under the age of five. They include 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 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has deployed stakeholders from all areas to facilitate implementation of the polio campaign in priority areas.

Punjab has been free of polio 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 a risk of virus importation. 2023 is the year that Pakistan aims to interrupt transmission of virus from the country and the polio programme is working steadily towards that goal, Khizer Afzaal said.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2023

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