LANDIKOTAL: The district administration of Khyber tribal district on Thursday made successful efforts to persuade people of Malikabad area in Jamrud tehsil to administer polio vaccination drops to children below the age of five years to prevent the spread of the crippling disease.

On the directives of Deputy Commissioner Mansoor Arshad, Assistant Commissioner Jamrud Jawad Ali along with polio vaccination teams visited Malikabad area to convince the local people who had earlier announced to boycott the vaccination campaign.

The district administration team held talks with the local people and promised to address all their concerns. The parents after the assurances of the administration agreed to vaccinate 192 children.

Assistant Commissioner Bara Nek Muhammad Bangash along with Tehsildar Asif Khan also held a Jirga with tribal elders of Akakhel, Mirgatkhel and Sherkhel tribes to end their boycott of the vaccination campaign. After successful negotiations, parents agreed to give anti-polio drops to 471 children.

The district administration has constituted special teams to try to address misconceptions about polio vaccines and convince parents who are reluctant to administer anti-polio drops to their children.

Currently, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world which have not fully eradicated polio. The virus has been eradicated in all other countries of the world, attesting to the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The main cause behind the emergence of so many polio cases is refusal of parents to cooperate with the vaccination teams and threat of attacks by extremists.

Polio vaccination campaign is continuing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during which at least 40 million children under five years of age will be administered vaccination drops along with a dose of Vitamin-A capsule. More than 290,000 health workers are participating in the campaign to inoculate children.

KP Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra had said during the launching of the campaign that protecting children from polio is of utmost importance for the government and there was no going back on the commitment regarding polio eradication till the menace was wiped out of the region. He had appealed to the parents to cooperate with teams by vaccinating their children to protect them from lifelong disability.

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