Polio Immunization Campaign Launches In Karachi & Hyderabad

According to officials from Sindh’s EOC for Polio, an estimated 4,967,244 children under the age of five will receive oral polio drops as well as vitamin A capsules during the campaign.


Polio-Immunization-Campaign-Launches-In-Karachi-Hyderabad

A week-long polio immunization campaign aimed at 4.96 million children in Karachi and Hyderabad was launched on Monday.

Polio immunization campaign, which was part of the national immunization days, had been postponed in both divisions due to local body elections.

According to officials from Sindh’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC) for Polio, an estimated 4,967,244 children under the age of five will receive oral polio drops as well as vitamin A capsules during the campaign, which ends on January 29.

“Around 27,000 polio workers and staff, as well as 3,000 security personnel, have been deployed to ensure the smooth operation of the drive in Karachi’s seven and Hyderabad’s nine districts, respectively,” the official said.

Sindh’s situation, according to Dr. Khalid Shafi of the Pakistan Paediatric Association, is encouraging. “There hasn’t been a single polio case in Sindh since July 2020,” he said, adding that Landhi, the only area in Sindh that reported a positive environmental sample last year, has now been tested negative.

He claimed that the federal and provincial governments were doing everything humanly possible to contain polio clusters.

“The only polio-affected areas in the country are in South Khyber Pakhunkhwa, specifically in Waziristan and Lakki Marwat.” People move a lot from these areas, which explains how the disease spreads.

Dr. Shafi stressed the importance of halting the spread of the polio virus in order to eradicate the crippling disease. “In the affected areas, there are factors beyond science that must be addressed.”

Concerning the country’s low vaccination coverage, he expressed regret that this situation existed in a country with ample vaccine stocks and a delivery system.

“What we lack is active community participation.” There should be ongoing public awareness campaigns to help people understand the importance of childhood immunisation. In the case of polio, the message should be clear: “There is no cure, but it is easily preventable through vaccination.”

According to health department officials, Pakistan has reported 20 cases of polio in 2022, all of which belong to South Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while positive environmental samples have also been reported from all provinces. However, no polio cases have been reported from Sindh over the last 30 months.

The most recent polio case was reported on July 14 in Jacobabad, while the most recent case was reported in Karachi on June 9, 2020, in Landhi, District Malir.

“The Sindh province has had continuous negative environmental samples for the past year, with the exception of one in August 2022 from Landhi, District Malir,” a health department official said, adding that if efforts continued at the same pace, significant results would be seen in the coming months.

When asked about the factors impeding progress in the super high-risk union councils, he stated that the government was aware of the conditions in high-risk areas and that communities required additional services.

“We are addressing this through new initiatives such as the establishment of water filtration plants, experimental dispensaries, model EPI [Expanded Programmes on Immunization] centres, mother and child health facilities, and the operation of health camps throughout the province.”

Children, he said, could be protected from childhood diseases through vaccination, and the government needed the media’s help to raise awareness about this.

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