LAHORE: The fifth five-day polio eradication drive of the current year is set to start from Dec 10 across the country and 19.1 million under-five children would be administrated vaccine.
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has directed all district and health authorities for making comprehensive preparations to achieve all targets, set by the government.
“The Punjab government wanted to make sure that polio virus circulation was interrupted during the ongoing low temperature.
We have to take every step to eliminate the virus till the next year, 2019,” said the minister in her message.
“Vaccinating every child was absolutely critical in order to ensure that no more children suffer from the incurable disease,” she added.
She said that polio-ridden Pakistan was not our destiny, adding that every Pakistani should play his or her role for making Pakistan polio-free.
“Pakistan could not afford to have even a single case of polio any more. Let’s join hands to make Pakistan a polio-free country,” pledged the health minister.
Dr Yasmin Rashid particularly stressed the health authorities to focus on nomads and gypsies, who move into Punjab with the change in weather. Punjab’s Emergency Operation Coordinator for Polio Eradication Dr Munir Ahmed said Pakistan was very close to getting rid of polio and keeping polio cases down to one in the last three years in Punjab was a great feat.
However, he warned that “finding positive environmental samples of polio in Rawalpindi and Lahore during the recent surveys indicate that children were still at risk from the crippling virus.
We will not relax until polio was fully eliminated from the motherland,” he resolved.
The provincial emergency operations centre has constituted over 48,000 teams, who will go door-to-door or stand at major crossings and fixed points to vaccinate over 19.1 million under-five children, he said.
The Emergency Operations Centre has activated the social media accounts and set up helpline to receive complaints regarding polio eradication campaign.
“Parents may contact helpline 0800-99000 or post their comments at @PakFightsPolio and @polioeradicationinitiative, if polio teams do not turn up in their areas.
Ahead of the campaign Dr Munir assured parents that polio vaccine was safe, efficacious, and approved by the government’s drug regulatory authorities.
He emphasized the need for all children to be immunized during every round of immunization campaign days.