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KARACHI, July 16: A three-day anti-polio campaign to vaccinate about 2.28 million children up to five years of age against the crippling disease began in the city on Monday, said government officials.

An official said that though Sindh had reported only three new polio cases so far, the months up to October were crucial as far as any surge in the polio cases was concerned. “We have to ensure repeated quality campaigns from July onwards,” the official added.

Town Health Officer of Gadap Dr Khalil Ansari said the anti-polio campaign in his town, which is considered as one of the high-risk towns from the point of view of polio virus prevalence, saw all the staff, vaccinators and volunteers in an upbeat mood, particularly for the fact that the town had once again been cleared in the environmental samplings test. “None of the sewer samples taken from Gadap has tested positive for the poliovirus at Islamabad’s central laboratory,” he added.

Gadap town has a target population of 218,421 and 412 mobile, 44 fixed teams and 73 transient points have been set up to reach the children in question.

Dr Ansari said the vaccination started in every union council and remained peaceful till the evening. Initially, there were some reports about hindrances in the working of vaccinators in a limited part of UC-4, including Gabol Goth and some locality near Jamali Goth, in the morning, which was resolved with the support of the local administration, he said, adding that in view of the complexities of the town the campaign would be run for four days.

MPA Nishat Mohammad Zia Qadri administered anti-polio vaccine drops to a child to inaugurate the campaign in Shah Faisal Colony. He appealed to the people to cooperate with the officials and staff during the campaign against polio.

Over 5,600 mobile and 600 fixed teams were deployed, in addition to the 482 transient teams in Karachi.

According to Deputy Project Director of the expanded programme on immunisation in Sindh, Dr Rizwana Memon, the national immunisation days (July 16-18) were being observed across the province, including Karachi, to cover about 7.5 million of the targeted children, with the help of 17,948 mobile and 2,041 fixed teams, in addition to 1,700 transient points. A source in the district administration said that the polio campaign could not be conducted in some parts of UC-11 of Liaquatabad Town on Monday due to the law and order situation prevailing in the area for the last few days after the murder of an activist of a political party.