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Polio virus NIH to test water, sewage samples

July 15, 2012


RAWALPINDI, July 14: Commissioner Rawalpindi Imdadullah Bosal has directed the Water and Sanitation Agency and the district health department to collect water and sewage samples in the presence of World Health Organisation officials and send them to the National Institute of Health to detect polio virus.

He issued the directives while presiding over a meeting of the divisional administration to review the arrangements for the anti-polio campaign scheduled to start on July 16.

Wasa officials informed the commissioner that the agency had got water and sewage samples tested from the National University of Science and Technology and found no polio virus in them.

However, the health officials added that the samples collected by WHO team from the sewers had found polio virus in 10 union councils of the city and Leh Nullah. They said the health department along with WHO team had sent samples to the NIH for laboratory test as it conducted the test according to WHO protocol.

The commissioner got confused over the dual reports and the different results and asked Wasa where they had got sewer and water samples tested. Upon this, the officials said they had been advised by the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources to get laboratory test from NUST.

The commissioner formed a joint team, comprising officials from Wasa and the health department, and asked them to collect water and sewer samples from different union councils in the presence of WHO officials and send them to the NIH.

He said the report should be presented to him as soon as possible and in the meantime the health department should take all measures to avoid spread of polio virus.

Mr Bosal also directed the district coordination officers of four districts of the Rawalpindi division to form monitoring teams led by assistant commissioners and police officials in their respective districts to provide full protection to the vaccinators.

He also asked them to contact prayers leaders of mosques to create awareness among the people regarding the polio drops.

He said stern action would be taken against those officials who failed to perform their duties properly during the anti-polio campaign. Director health Dr Zafar Iqbal Gondal said the provincial government had set a target to administer anti-polio drops to more than 1.2 million children. He said special teams had been formed to provide polio drops to the children while traveling from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Khyber Pukhtunkhawa in buses or trains to Rawalpindi.