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Immunisation efforts ramped up after increase in polio cases



SHABQADAR / PESHAWAR: The government plans to target 3.287 million children below five years of age in 13 districts of the province in a three-day polio drive. An official privy to the development told The Express Tribune on Saturday the immunisation drive will also cover various parts of the tribal belt. “We also plan to inoculate over 885,000 children in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas,” he said.

According to the official, the drive will be conducted in Bannu, Charsadda, DI Khan, Hangu, Karak, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, Mardan, Nowshera, Peshawar, Swat, Tank and Torghar. “Immunisation campaigns will be held in North and South Waziristan, Khyber, Kurram, Orakzai, Mohmand and Bajaur agencies,” he said. “Children in six frontier regions will also be vaccinated during the drive.”

Maximum outreach

A series of arrangements have been made by Polio Emergency Operation Centre to ensure the drive gains maximum outreach. According to a handout issued on Saturday, a large number of polio teams have been established for the campaign.

“This includes 8,444 mobile, 863 fixed and 67 roaming teams,” read the statement. “At least 502 transit points have also been set up.” Supervisory teams have also been set up.

Following up

“Supervisory or monitoring teams will travel through various parts of K-P and Fata and conduct surveys in different areas [after the three-day drive],” said the officer. “This will ensure all children below five years of age are inoculated.”

The provincial government has already warned of stern action against those parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated.

Down with the virus

Another official privy to the development told The Express Tribune that arrangements had been made to immunise children below the age of five in South Waziristan. For the first time in years, children who live in villages along the Pak-Afghan border will
be targeted.

“At least 300 teams have been constituted in South Waziristan,” he said. “Political Agent Zafarul Islam Khattak will personally supervise the vaccination drive. He, along with tribal elders, also arranged an awareness walk regarding the issue.”

The official said arrangements had also been made to vaccinate children from North Waziristan. Special teams have been constituted to inoculate children of displaced families in Bannu.

A roaring success

Immunisation drives remain in full swing in Charsadda. K-P Health Secretary Mushtaq Jadoon, along with WHO and UNICEF officials visited Shabqadar and Tangi to monitor the campaign in the region. EPI Coordinator Dr Farhad told The Express Tribune that the officials were satisfied by the drives conducted in the district.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2015.

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