QUETTA: An anti-polio campaign is set to commence on Monday (today) across all 34 districts of Balochistan.

All necessary arrangements have been finalised for the seven-day polio drive in the province, Syed Zahid Shah, the coordinator of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in Balochistan, announced on Sunday.

Mr Shah said that the government, in collaboration with the EOC, would run the vaccination drive in all 34 districts of Balochistan. This campaign aims to provide polio drops to around 2.4 million children aged up to five years. Additionally, Vitamin A drops will be administered to children as a part of this initiative.

“All necessary arrangements have been made regarding the campaign. Around 10,500 teams would be deployed to vaccinate children under the age of five,” he said.

A total of 8,589 mobile teams, 925 fixed teams, and 547 transit teams have been dispatched throughout the province to ensure the successful administration of polio drops to all children.

“Balochistan has maintained its polio-free status for the past two years. Since January 2021, there have been no reported polio cases in the province,” he said.

The last case was recorded on Jan 27, 2021 in district Killa Abdullah. Furthermore, since April 2021, no traces of the polio virus have been detected in environmental samples collected in Balochistan.

“We have adopted strict security to prevent any unforeseen situation, Balochistan Levies force, police and Frontier Corps would be deployed to protect the polio workers,” Mr Shah said, adding that religious scholars were also actively persuading the parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated.

“As Routine Immunisation (RI) is an important pillar of polio eradication initiative, we are trying to provide adequate resources not only for vaccination against childhood vaccine preventable diseases but also working for expansion of RI service delivery in remote areas to boost coverage,” Mr Shah said.

“The efforts and dedication of our front-line workers are admirable, Yet we have to strive more to stop the virus circulation and save our children,” he concluded.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2023

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