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KARACHI: An emergent meeting of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) was held on Wednesday at PMA House, Karachi, to discuss the worsening polio situation in the country.

The meeting was presided over through video link by Dr Salma Aslam Kundi, Hon President PMA Centre. The meeting was attended by Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad, Hon Secretary General PMA Centre, Dr Qazi Wasiq and others.

The participants of the meeting expressed their concern over the outcome of positive environmental samples from seven cities indicating the presence of the polio virus in Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Bannu, Nowshera and Swat.

Detection of polio virus in the sewage samples is very alarming. The polio cases from these seven cities will emerge which will increase the number of polio cases in the country, the meeting was told.

Pakistan remained polio free for 15 months till April 2022 after which 14 cases have been reported. It seemed that we are once again returning back from the brink of eradicating wild poliovirus transmission. Now it is time for the government to chalk out foolproof strategy to curb polio virus on emergent basis, the meeting told further informed.

PMA believed that parents should know more about polio virus and its consequences that could make their child handicap which will be very miserable for whole society. In this regard a strong positive awareness campaign through print, electronic and social media should be initiated and a documentary about 30 to 60 seconds should go on air to aware the people about the consequences of the polio virus.

It will also aware the people about the importance of polio vaccine. Government should particularly convince the people that vaccine is very effective for the eradication of polio and it is absolutely not harmful in any way. Government should also work to remove all the misconceptions about the polio drops from the public minds. The message should go to public with such clarity that they themselves take their children to vaccine centres for polio drops.

PMA also suggested that all the stakeholders should be involved in the awareness campaign. Political leaders, religious leaders, doctors, teachers, artists and sportsmen can play an important role in this campaign. General Physicians can particularly play a major role in eliminating polio.

The PMA said: We also suggest government to make it mandatory for the parents to get their under five children vaccinated with polio vaccine and vaccination certificates should be issued to the children that should be provided at the time of school admission and elsewhere.”

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