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Country-wide polio vaccination campaign: Sameen Abid

Polio vaccination campaigns across Pakistan’s four provinces have started on Monday. With the duration and number of targeted children varying in Sindh, KPK, Balochistan and Punjab. This is the first nation-wide campaign in the country after four months of suspension due to the covid-19 pandemic during which 40 million children below five years of age will be administered the anti-pilio vaccine.

The scope of this campaign is much larger and seek to vaccinate all children through door to door visits by almost 270,000 vaccinator all over the country. The polio vaccinator have received comprehensive training on how to vaccinate safely within the covid-19 context. A spoke-person from Sindh health department said the seven day anti-polio drive has been launched across Sindh, including Karachi, today with a target to vaccinate nine million children.

The anti-pilio campaign volunteers would go door to door to vaccinate children. Adding that special care would be taken in light of coronavirus-related SOPs. ‘Police and other law enforcement agencies were also called in to protect the volunteers, he added. In Pashawar the coordinator for the emergency operation center (EOC) for polio eradication in KPK said a three day anti polio drive was launched across the province after being suspended earlier on March 13 due the coronavirus pandemic. It was to vaccinate 6.54 million children during the campaign with 28,528 team of polio workers participating in the campaign. Coronavirus related SOPs will be strictly folloed during the campaign, the coordinator said, the field staff were provided with surgical masks, hand sanitizer, thermal guns and other protective equipment(PPES). The anti-polio campaign has begun recently in Quetta.

According to the EOC for polio eradication in the province with the campaign aiming to vaccinate 2.5 more than 10,000 teams were participating in the anti-polio campaign. The ECO noted. In addition, the services of community health workers were enlisted for the success. So far this year, at least 19 cases of the polio have been reported in Balochistan. With the provincial health department confirm the latest one in seven month old boy in Ahmed Khanazia area on outskirt of Quetta. On the other hand, the spoke-person for Pakistan Polio Eradication programme in Punjab said that the five day anti-polio drive would run from september 21 to 25. The virus is spreading in major cities due to a prolonged gap in the anti-polio drive when it was suspended earlier due to coronavirus pandemic. At last, the campaign’s target was to vaccinate over 20 million children against polio.

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