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WHO caught in the wrong

May 17, 2012

ISLAMABAD, May 16: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has suspended its Post Campaign Monitoring (PCM) of polio vaccination all over Pakistan after the local authorities found that its data about the federal capital territory was “fake”, Dawn has learnt.

Chief Commissioner Tariq Pirzada said the data recorded by the WHO PCM staff in the rural areas of Islamabad was discovered to be fake.

“When my team investigated the whole matter we learnt that every data sample recorded by the WHO officials for PCM was fake, like the parents of the vaccinated child mentioned in the data did not exist. Even the addresses of the houses in rural areas supposed to have been visited by the WHO team were found wrong,” he said.

Commissioner Pirzada suspected the WHO monitors filled up the whole data in the forms sitting at home.

According to a health expert, PCM is an Independent polio campaign monitoring aimed at assessing the quality and impact of national level or supplementary immunisation campaigns.

An official of the Interior Ministry said the last anti-polio campaign run by the federal government from April 23-26 had covered 85 per cent of the federal capital to the dissatisfaction of the ICT administration.

Less than 90 per cent of polio campaign coverage often proves to be an unhealthy polio vaccination drive in any city or area.

“In PCM, children with marked fingers are rechecked to ascertain that they have been vaccinated,” said the official.

Independent monitors try to find answers to questions like “How many children did we reach with vaccine?” thus giving a scientific data of polio coverage.

The health expert said that PCM was always important for health experts for getting guidance on necessary mid-course corrections to meet any gaps regarding problems of vaccination.

However, the interior ministry official added: “After learning about poor polio vaccination campaign in its rural areas through PCM figures of WHO the ICT administration constituted its team which rechecked the marked finger and found gross discrepancy in the PCM of the WHO.”

The official said besides lodging protest with the organisation the WHO had been conveyed that the PCM data recorded by its officials was faulty.

When approached the WHO’s polio team leader in Pakistan Nima Abid, admitted discrepancy in the data, saying: “We have suspended PCM across the country and dismissed an official too.”

He assured that the PCM would again be re-started from June because it was an authenticated and proven scientific methodology for containing the polio virus and getting a confirmation of its coverage. He said that WHO has suspended the PCM mainly to re-evaluate its scientific methodology for data collection across the country.