PESHAWAR: The polio vaccination campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will kick off from March 29 during which around 6.4 million children below the age of five years would be administered polio vaccine.
The five-day campaign would be carried out by 29,000 teams comprising well trained anti-polio workers to successfully achieve the target.
This was revealed by KP Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra after inaugurating vaccination campaign by administering vaccine to children at Police Services Hospital in Peshawar on Friday.
The minister said that during the campaign, special emphasis would be laid on areas where refusal cases are higher besides strict implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) against coronavirus. He said the respective district administrations have been issued directives to take steps for making the vaccination campaign successful.
Mr Jhagra said that among 29000 teams, 25980 would be mobile teams, 1,909 fixed, 1,052 transit, while 146 would be roaming teams while for effective monitoring of the campaign, 7133 area in-charges have been deputed. He said foolproof security measures have been taken to provide security cover to the polio workers.
“Concentrated efforts are needed to eliminate polio and we have to put our share in these endeavours,” he said.
He said that due to the coronavirus situation, a decline has been witnessed in anti-polio campaigns. He said now these campaigns have been resumed in total capacity to defeat poliovirus.
The minister said that during the upcoming campaign the government would adopt a zero refusal tolerance policy and lay full focus on areas where such cases were reported.
Mr Jhagra said the government has no intention to impose lockdown on the pattern of the first wave of corona and urged the people for adopting preventive measures and adherence to officials SOPs.
While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from the crippling disease. With each vaccination of children below the age of five years, their protection against the virus is increased. No vaccination means more vulnerability to the virus particularly in Pakistan where it is endemic.
Currently, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world which have not fully eradicated polio. The main cause behind the emergence of so many polio cases is refusal of parents to cooperate with the vaccination teams. Experts believe that polio vaccination efforts cannot succeed completely until the refusing parents are convinced to cooperate with vaccination teams.