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LAHORE: Punjab is all set to launch an outbreak response in four districts from Monday (Today) after national laboratory confirmed presence of polio virus in environmental samples of Lahore and Rawalpindi in October.

The campaign will be held in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Sheikhupura and Rajanpur, confirmed the Coordinator of the Emergency Operations Centre and head of the polio programme in Punjab Khizer Afzaal on Sunday.

In Lahore and Rawalpindi, the campaign will last seven days. While in Rajanpur and Sheikhupura, the campaign will be held for five days.

Rajanpur, which shares common provincial boundary with Balochistan and Sindh, has been included in the campaign due to wide scale population movement from both the provinces. Sindh and Balochistan have reported a polio case and positive environmental sample respectively in October.

Similarly, Sheikhupura is included in the campaign due to wide scale population movement from Lahore.

The inoculation drive against polio will see 32 thousand polio workers going door to door. This includes 14,000 workers in Lahore, 7,000 in Rawalpindi, and 7,000 in Sheikhupura and over 4,000 workers in Rajanpur.

Over 4.2 million children will be given polio drops in the drive including 2.85 million in Lahore, 1 million in Rawalpindi, 0.7 million in Sheikhupura and 0.5 million in Rajanpur.

In his statement issued during a meeting with District Health Authorities of the four districts, Punjab polio programme head Mr Khizer Afzaal stressed on the vaccination of children missed in the October round of the campaign. He also instructed the district officials to chalk out a coverage plan of children missed in the last campaign.

The EOC head specifically directed the deputy district health officials to personally monitor the polio campaign as well as all staff under their supervision so that quality of campaign was not compromised. He directed the health officials to ensure that data quality was up to the mark and no child was missed at the transit sites.

The EOC head reiterated that Punjab government and the department had intensified efforts to keep Punjab free of polio virus.

About vaccine, the EOC head reassured that multiple dozes of oral polio vaccine provided best protection to children against the virus. He urged parents to repose full trust in the government efforts to eradicate polio and welcome polio teams during campaigns.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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