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RAWALPINDI, July 4: District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar on Wednesday directed private schools to cooperate with the health department in administering anti-polio vaccination to their students in the school timings failing which, he warned, their licences would be cancelled.

These directions were issued after a schedule of launching the anti-polio vaccination campaign in the district was finalised to commence from July 16. The DCO also directed the education department to provide 400 teachers to the health department for the campaign. He also warned the teachers that negligence in administering polio drops to children would not be tolerated.

This was informed in a meeting held here, with Saqib Zafar in the chair, to review the arrangements of the drive. The meeting was attended by Director Health Rawalpindi Dr Zafar Iqbal Gondal, District Health Officer Dr Khalid Randhawa, Executive District Officer (Education) Qazi Zahoorul Haq and representatives of various non-government organisations (NGOs).

In the meeting, District Health Department officials held the shortage of staff responsible for failure of the earlier polio campaigns and requested the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) to provide manpower for the purpose.

They also complained to the DCO that private schools were not cooperating with the department by not letting their staff enter the premises for providing anti-polio drops to the children during school hours. The DCO also took serious notice of the reports of World Health Organisation (WHO) claiming that polio virus had been found in different parts of the city sewers. He directed the health department officials to be especially vigilant on the areas where polio virus was reportedly found last year.

The meeting was informed that duty roasters of the staff of health department, teaching hospitals, agriculture and education departments would be issued immediately after the lists of staff were received from the respective departments.

Director Health Dr Zafar Iqbal Gondal briefed the meeting about the steps taken by the department to make the upcoming campaign successful. He informed the participants that 1,160 mobile teams have been constituted for door-to-door vaccination of children and added that 350 static centres have also been set up to facilitate parents in getting their children vaccinated from the area nearest to their residence. He said that vaccination for the drive was available in sufficient quantity.