Five-day national polio drive starts from Monday
LAHORE: The five-day polio eradication drive is starting from December 10 across the country. At least 19.1 million children under the age of five will be administrated vaccines in Punjab.
Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid directed all district and health authorities for preparations to achieve all targets set by the government. “The Punjab government wanted to make sure that polio virus circulation was interrupted during the ongoing low temperature. We have to take every step to eliminate polio virus till the next year 2019,” said the minister.
She added that reaching and vaccinating every child was absolutely critical in order to ensure that no more children suffer from the incurable disease. “Polio ridden Pakistan is not our destiny. Every Pakistani should play his or her role for polio-free Pakistan,” she said. The minister added that Pakistan could not afford to have even a single case of polio anymore so let’s join hands to make Pakistan a polio-free country.
The minister stressed upon health authorities to focus on nomads and gypsies move into Punjab with the change in weather.
Punjab’s Emergency Operation Coordinator for polio eradication Dr Munir Ahmed said Pakistan was very close to getting rid of polio and keeping polio cases down to one in the last three years in Punjab was a big achievement. However, he warned that finding positive environmental samples of polio in Rawalpindi and Lahore during recent surveys indicate that children were still at risk from the crippling virus. “We will not relax until polio has fully vanished from the country.”
The provincial emergency operation centre has formed over 48,000 teams who will go door-to-door or stand at the major crossing and fixed points to vaccinate over 19.1 million in the province, he shared.
The Emergency Operations Centre has activated social media accounts and set up a helpline to receive complaints regarding the polio eradication campaign.
Ahead of the campaign, Dr Ahmed assured parents that the polio vaccine was safe, efficacious, and approved by the government’s drug regulatory authorities. He emphasised the need for all children to be immunised during every round of immunisation campaign days.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2018.