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Anti-polio campaign begins across Sindh

The Emergency Operation Centre for Polio has launched a three-day anti-polio campaign in 21 districts/towns of Sindh .

These districts include Karachi, Dadu, Ghotki, Jaccobabad, Kambar, Kashmore, Larkana, Shikarpur, Sukkur, Badin, Hyderabad, Khairpur, Matiari, Naushero Feroz, Sanghar, SBA, Sajjawal, Thatta and Jamshoro.

The campaign primarily targets 7,127,711 children under the age of five, out of which 1,748,244 will be vaccinated under 162 union councils of Karachi.

Sindh Coordinator Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Fayaz Jatoi said: “The district administrations and town health management teams have significantly improved the situation but there is no room for complacency as the virus can return at any time, it is a big achievement that there wasn’t a single polio case reported in Karachi for almost 20 months, however, our goal is to reach zero cases.”

Fayaz Jatoi further said: “We must also appreciate the efforts and coordination of the Sindh police that have without fail given us security cover during every single campaign so our workers can carry on with their jobs, during this campaign the police will once again provide more than 5,000 police personnel in Karachi for security cover, patrolling and enabling a safe and secure environment.”

There have been five cases of polio in Pakistan during 2017 which is a historical low, out of these only one case from Sindh was reported in Karachi in August 2017. With regards to Central and Northern Sindh , no case has been reported for more than one and a half year.

In Karachi, the campaign started at Government Children Hospital North Nazimabad.

Director Health Services Karachi Dr Muhammad Taufeeq and other officials of the Sindh Health Department were present on the occasion to mark the beginning of the 3rd Sub-National Immunization Day (SNID) in the hospital.

Speaking on the occasion, he said that it was imperative for everyone to own the polio eradication effort, and expressed that everyone from the country’s leadership to the vaccinators and lady health workers on the field were collectively united to end this menace.

“The future of our children is on the stake and it is up to us to work together to safeguard health for the generations to come”, Dr Taufeeq said.

He stressed that the combined effort of all stakeholders was playing a very crucial role in the polio eradication drive and commended the support from all district health administrations, WHO, Unicef and other partners involved in the expanded programme of immunization (EPI).

Impressed with the discipline, cleanliness and patient flow in the OPD, Dr Taufeeq praised the quality of care in the hospital and commended Poverty Eradication Initiative for its efforts in improving the services of the hospital.

Dr Imam Yar Baig, the CEO of Sindh Government Children Hospital, also stressed on the importance of quality aspect of these drives and appreciated the efforts of the workforce involved in the process, while thanking the government for all its support.

“It’s commendable that all stakeholders are on the same page in the fight against polio, and this would not have been possible if we all aren’t united to fight the disease,” Dr Baig said.

He added that it was PEI’s vision to make this hospital a model for Karachi in terms of access and quality care through appropriate technology and talented human resources.

Dr Taufeeq and his entourage also visited different wards and suggested making the EPI center in the hospital more attractive for the patients.

He was also of the view that PEI was doing a great job at smoothly running the affairs of the hospital.

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease that can be prevented through effective vaccinations. In 2017, Sindh has only reported one polio case from Karachi so far, after the provincial health administrations implemented innovative strategies to make the immunization program more effective.

INP. Anti-polio campaign begins across Sindh. The Nation, October 31, 2017.

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