Anti-polio drive kicks off in Rawalpindi, Islamabad

Published February 27, 2024
A health worker administers anti-polio drops to a child at the shrine of Bari Imam in Islamabad on Monday. — Online
A health worker administers anti-polio drops to a child at the shrine of Bari Imam in Islamabad on Monday. — Online

RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: A week-long anti-polio campaign commenced in the twin cities on Monday to inoculate thousands of children in Islamabad and Rawalpindi against the viral disease.

In the garrison city, Commissioner Aamer Khattak and Deputy Commissioner Dr Hasan Waqar Cheema inaugurated the anti-polio campaign by administering drops to children under five years of age. In Rawalpindi, there are more than 800,000 children under five years.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the polio campaign, representatives of the Department of Health and WHO and other relevant officers were present. According to the District Health Authority officials, 3,675 mobile teams, 870 area in-charges, 245 medical officers, and 330 fixed centres had been set up under the drive to complete the task.

They said that drops would also be administered at 163 transit points set up by the district administration while teams had also been deputed at toll plazas and railway stations in the district to administer polio drops. They said that the polio teams had been directed to ensure their data was up to the mark. As per the health officials, the polio drive was being launched against the backdrop of “positive polio environmental samples” in the district.

More than 3,600 mobile teams to administer drops to about 800,000 children in Rawalpindi

Deputy Commissioner Dr Hassan Waqar Cheema said that the district administration and health officials were dedicated to making the country polio-free. The DC said that the anti-polio drive was a social responsibility for which all departments needed to cooperate with the health officials.

He directed that the support force should be increased by paying special attention to the high-risk union councils and the surrounding areas prone to this disease. He said that efforts would be made to cover the refusals immediately with the help of the district administration officials and the prominent locals of the area.

Polio campaign in Islamabad

In Islamabad, the health secretary along with other officials visited different areas of the federal capital to ‘boost’ the morale of polio teams.

Iftikhar Ali was accompanied by National Emergencies Operation Center (NEOC) coordinator Dr Shahzad Baig during his visit to Union Council Shah Allah Ditta. The purpose of the visit was to oversee the implementation of the polio campaign and ensure that all necessary measures were being taken to achieve maximum coverage, said a statement.

Meanwhile, the administration teams also visited Mohrah and Ali Town to assess the performance of the polio workers. The health secretary appreciated the dedication and efficiency of the teams and engaged with the team members, acknowledging their efforts and stressing the importance of adherence to the vaccination protocols.

The health secretary and NEOC Coordinator visited a transit vaccination point at Zam Zam Plaza in Dhoke Abbasi of UC Rural 9. The team had vaccinated 57 children at the site. The health secretary emphasised the need for continuous oversight to ensure the smooth implementation of vaccination activities. He urged district administration staff to provide timely support to teams and to enhance coordination between polio teams and administration staff to ensure effective monitoring and supervision throughout the campaign.

It is noted that the second nationwide polio vaccination campaign of the year started on Monday in which more than 45.8 million under five years of age children would likely be vaccinated.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2024

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