According to the federal health ministry, a polio vaccination campaign will start from Monday (today) in 39 districts. The goal is to vaccinate more than six million children under the age of five.
The polio vaccination campaign starts in 39 districts of Pakistan to eradicate the presence of the virus.— Healthwire News (@HealthwireNews) February 13, 2023
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District-wide campaigns will be executed from February 13th to 17th in seven districts of Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These included D.I Khan, Tank, North Waziristan, Lakki Marwat, Lower South Waziristan, Upper South Waziristan, and Bannu. It also consists of Punjab Lahore and Faisalabad districts where the problem is constantly present.
As stated in the statement issued by the Ministry of National Health Services, the campaign is being conducted after two environmental samples from Lahore tested positive in January.
According to the polio lab at the National Institute of Health, “the first sample of 2023 was detected on January 19th and was linked to polio virus found in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan in November 2022”. This made it the first evidence of cross-border transmission in more than a year.
Meanwhile, the second poliovirus case was reported on January 27th and was linked with a virus circulating in Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Federal Minister of Health Abdul Qadir Patel has encouraged caregivers and parents to ensure the vaccination of their children. He said, “presence of wild poliovirus with genetic links to the virus in Afghanistan and south KP was evidence of the virus’ mobility. Poliovirus on any side of the border is a threat to children in both countries.
With that, the experts at the top hospitals i.e. Maroof International Hospital, DHA Medical Center, and Doctors Hospital said that “the only repeated doses of oral polio vaccine can offer life-long protection.”
Last year, a total of 37 environmental samples tested positive for wild poliovirus in 13 districts. But repeated vaccination drives restricted the virus to the endemic districts of Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
As of now, partial campaigns will also be conducted in select union councils of 30 districts including Balochistan province. The list includes 57 UCs bordering Afghanistan, 107 UCs of Multan, 58 UCs with Afghan refugee camps, and some UCs of Sheikhupura with high-risk mobile populations.