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Anti-polio drive postponed in Khyber at eleventh hour

The anti-polio vaccination campaign planned to start on Monday (today) in Khyber Agency along with other Fata regions has been postponed for at least a week owing to the delay in laboratory test result of the polio vaccine used in the previous campaign.

Local health authorities were all set to send around 700 teams to vaccinate over 200,000 children under age five in all the three sub-divisions of Khyber Agency during the three-day campaign.

Director Health Services, Fata, Jawad Habib had even inaugurated the campaign during his visit to Jamrud civil hospital on Jan 13.

The health officials, however, said that the campaign was postponed at the eleventh hour after security officials in Bara insisted on arrival of the laboratory test result of the polio vaccine samples which were sent to Islamabad for proper examination after the death of five children during the previous anti-polio drive.

Sources said that it was established beyond doubt that the deaths were caused due to other medical complications, including pneumonia, epilepsy, head injuries or premature birth, as was proven during medical examination of their blood samples.

They said that parents of the deceased children along with elders of the region were taken on board while sharing with them results of all medical tests conducted on the blood samples of the affected children.

“It was only after the satisfaction of the local community and their pledge to support the next vaccination campaign that necessary arrangements were made for the Jan 16 drive,” they said, adding that a string of meetings were also held in the three sub-divisions to dispel the negative propaganda against polio vaccination.

The officials said that they wanted to continue with the good work they had been performing since November last year when the last polio case was detected in Khyber.

They said that the security officials were insisting on sharing the lab test result of the polio vaccine with them prior to the launch of next campaign.

Reporter. Anti-polio drive postponed in Khyber at eleventh hour. Dawn, January 16, 2017.

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