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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah inaugurated a week-long anti-polio campaign across 24 districts by administering polio drops to children at the newly established Gulshan-e-Aka Khail in Gadap and urged parents to protect their children from the crippling virus by providing them with oral polio vaccines.

“Together, as a community, let us forge a path towards a polio-free environment, securing a healthier future for our children.” This he said while speaking at the inauguration ceremony of anti-polio camping at Gadap. The ceremony was attended by Health Minister Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, Secretary Health Rehan Baloch, Provincial Coordinator EOC Irshad Sodhar, CEO PPHI Javed Jagirani, National Chair, Rotary International Aziz Memon, Dr. Asif Zardari of WHO, Dr. Shaukat Chandio of UNICEF and others.

The Health Department has launched a Sub-National Immunization Days (NIDs) campaign from April 29th to May 5th, 2024. This crucial initiative aims at vaccinating approximately eight million children under the age of 5 against poliovirus in 24 districts of Sindh.

Over 62000 front-line workers will work throughout the province, ensuring every eligible child receives this life-saving vaccine. This massive effort will be supported by almost 4000 security personnel. The CM urged all schools, hospitals, and caregivers to welcome vaccinators, as they truly are fighting on the frontline in the last stages of our battle against this debilitating disease.

Minister Health & Population Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho said that the campaign was aimed at stopping the alarming trend of positive environmental samples in Sindh and all over Pakistan, threatening the health of our children. In recent reports, 11 positive environmental samples have been isolated from various sites in Sindh.

This situation underscores the urgency of this vaccination drive. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the two remaining endemic countries, and interrupting virus transmission in this epidemiological block is critical to eradicating polio. The Polio Programmes of both countries are united in a single mission to protect children from lifelong disability and end polio in the region.

Shah said that despite security challenges and persistent virus clusters, efforts were ongoing to ensure the vaccination of every child. “To ensure no child is left unprotected, we encourage parents whose children are missed to contact the Emergency Operations Centre’s Sehat Tahaffuz Helpline 1166,” he said. The media plays a pivotal role in disseminating critical information.

The CM urged journalists and community leaders to rally support for the ongoing anti-polio campaign, echoing the endorsement of medical experts and religious scholars who advocate for the safety and efficacy of the oral polio vaccine. Minister Health & Population Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho said that the campaign was aimed at stopping the alarming trend of positive environmental samples in Sindh and all over Pakistan, threatening the health of our children.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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