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Year’s first anti-polio drive begins today

The first anti-polio campaign of the year will begin on Monday (today) in which some 8.4 million children under the five years of age will be targeted across Sindh, officials said on Sunday.

They said out of the 8.4 million children, 2.2m would be vaccinated in 188 union councils of Karachi. The rest will be vaccinated in the rest of the province.

At least 5,000 police personnel will be providing security to more than 12,000 polio workers.

“There will be a strong monitoring mechanism through the emergency operation centre (EOC) in Sindh and the partner staff,” said an official.

Coordinator of the EOC Sindh Fayaz Jatoi claimed that there had been drastic improvements in the programme in the last few years with polio cases in the country decreasing from 306 cases in 2014 to 20 cases in 2016.

However, he added, those 20 cases were too many and “our goal is to reach a zero case”.

Sindh Population Welfare Minister Mir Mumtaz Jakhrani asked all district population officers, medical officers, reproductive health services centres with field staff to extend full cooperation to health authorities in Sindh in the campaign, which will continue for three days excluding the ‘catch-up days’.

He said with combined efforts and dedication the dream to rid the country of the poliovirus would be realised.

The minister will visit and monitor the campaign and ensure active contribution of population welfare ministry in making the drive success.

He warned the officials that no lame excuse would be tolerated in this regard.

Eight of the 20 cases in the country last year were reported in Sindh. Some 306 cases of polio were reported in Pakistan in 2014; and 54 in 2015.

Reporter. Year’s first anti-polio drive begins today. Dawn, January 16, 2017.

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