2nd anti-polio drive begins tomorrow

Our Correspondent
Sunday, May 22, 2022

LAHORE: The second National Polio Eradication Campaign of the year will start all over Pakistan including Punjab from Monday (tomorrow), said the Director Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) Dr Mukhtar Ahmad here on Saturday.

The campaign will take place from May 23-27, with two days dedicated to reaching ‘not available’ children. “While in mega districts of Lahore, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi, the campaign will run from May 23-29, also with two days dedicated to reaching not available children”, the director of the EPI added.

In Punjab alone, this will translate into 22 million children under the age of five receiving anti-polio vaccinations. The National Immunisation Days (NIDs) will see the participation of over 160,000 polio workers. This includes over 12,000 area incharges, over 130,000 mobile team members, nearly 5,000 fixed team members, nearly 4,000 district and union council supervisors and over 5,000 transit team members. Punjab Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has deployed experts from all areas to facilitate implementation of national polio campaign. “In light of the fact that Pakistan suffered new polio cases in April, the provincial government is further prioritising the issue”, said Dr Mukhtar Ahmad.

Punjab has been polio-free since October 2020 while no environmental sample has tested positive since May 2021. “Nevertheless, this success will remain fragile unless and until polio is completely eradicated from both Pakistan and Afghanistan”, he stressed. Punjab Emergency Operations Centre has set up transit points to engage with mobile and migratory populations arriving from all parts of the country

Punjab is prioritizing three very high-risk mega districts of Faisalabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi and two high risk districts including Multan and DG Khan. “In addition, steps are being taken to strengthen Routine Immunisation coverage. Optimal routine immunisation is crucial to sustaining the wins of the national polio program”, the head of the EPI underlined. Dr Mukhtar stressed on the need to vaccinate 100 percent of children in order to achieve population and immunity prevent re-circulation of polio virus.