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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that due to political commitment and focused efforts, particularly in the high-risk union councils of the province, no new case of polio has emerged since July 2020. This he said on Monday while talking to media after inaugurating a seven-day province-wide polio camping at Sobhraj Hospital by giving oral drops to children.

Minister Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Siraj Soomro, Secretary Health Zulfiqar Shah, Commissioner Karachi Iqbal Memon and other officers were present. The Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for polio has launched the polio campaign from 13-19 December as a part of the national immunization days, to give oral polio drops to over nine million children of under 5-year across the province.

The chief minister said that the campaign would be conducted in all 30 districts of the province and out of the targeted of over 9 million children more than two million live in Karachi. Shah said that because of the Covid pandemic, anti-polio campaigns and routine immunization could not be carried out from March to July 2020. “This gap is being addressed through back-to-back monthly polio campaigns since August 2020 and we have controlled the spread of the virus throughout 2021,” he said.

The CM said that the communities living in the high-risk Union Councils for polio needed more services through new initiatives. “We have installed water filtration plants, experimental dispensaries, model EPI centres, mother and child health facilities among other initiatives in such union councils,” he said.

He said that Pakistan was one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with Afghanistan and has so far reported a total of one polio case in 2021. Experts endorse the oral polio vaccine as the safest and most effective for not only preventing polio, Shah said and added during the polio campaign launched in September, the government has achieved more than 98 percent coverage.

He urged parents to cooperate with the teams when they visit their homes. He said that this time during the polio campaign, Covid vaccinations would also be provided in selected districts such as seven districts of Karachi, Sanghar, Hyderabad and Khairpur.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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