Five-day anti-polio drive starts on 10th

The fifth polio eradication drive of the current year is set to start from December 10 across the country wherein 19.1 million under-five children will be administrated vaccine.

The five-day drive would continue till December 14.

For the purpose, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has directed all district and health authorities for comprehensive preparations to achieve all targets set by the government. “The Punjab government wants to make sure that polio virus circulation is interrupted during the ongoing low temperature. We have to take every step to eliminate polio virus till the next year,” the minister said in a statement.

“Vaccinating every child is absolutely critical in order to ensure that no child suffers from the incurable disease,” she added, adding that every Pakistani should play their role for polio-free Pakistan. “Pakistan can’t afford to have even a single case of polio anymore. Let’s join hands to make Pakistan a polio-free country,” pledged the minister.

Dr Rashid particularly stressed upon health authorities to focus on nomads and gypsies in the drive.

Punjab’s Emergency Operation Coordinator for Polio Eradication Dr Munir Ahmed said Pakistan was very close to get rid of polio and keeping polio cases down to one in the last three years in Punjab was a great feat. However, he warned that finding positive environmental samples of polio in Rawalpindi and Lahore during recent surveys indicated that children were still at risk from the crippling virus. “We will not relax until polio is fully vanished from the motherland,” he resolved.

The provincial Emergency Operations Centre has constituted over 48,000 teams, which would go door-to- door or stand at major crossing and fixed points to vaccinate over 19.1 million under-five children all over the province, he said. The Emergency Operations Centre has activated social media accounts and set up helpline to receive complaints regarding the polio eradication campaign.

Dr Munir assured parents that polio vaccine is safe, efficacious, and approved by the government’s drug regulatory authorities. He emphasized the need for all children to be immunized during every round of immunization campaign.

Published in Daily Times, December 8th 2018.