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Karachi (07-06-21): Chief Minister, Sindh, Murad Ali Shah and Minister for Health and Population Welfare, Sindh, Dr. Azra Pechuho along with the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for polio in Sindh, launched a province-wide polio vaccination campaign from the 7th of June to 12th June 2021. This is part of the sub-national immunization days; to give oral polio drops to over 9 million children of under 5-year across the province.
The campaign will be conducted in all 30 districts of Sindh.
Out of the target of over 9 million children, more than 2 million reside in Karachi.
The campaign will be conducted whilst following strict WHO recommended COVID prevention protocols which include the wearing of masks by workers, their temperatures being checked before deployment, not handling children directly, not entering houses, spending limited time with families and knocking on doors with pens, rulers or elbows rather than hands.
As a result of the pandemic, the gap in campaigns from March to July coupled with routine immunization being affected left an immunity gap in children which is being addressed through back-to-back monthly polio campaigns since August 2020.
Thanks to these campaigns Sindh has not reported a single case of polio since July 2020 and environment samples are also now showing a negative trend, which is good for the program and the future of the children of Pakistan.
It is the aim of this program to continue with similar momentum in order to achieve further significant results but we must not get complacent and continue the hard work.
High risk union councils (UC’s) for polio need other services as well and the team is addressing this through new initiatives. Water filtration plants, experimental dispensaries, model EPI centers, mother and child health facilities among other initiatives are all services and initiatives that have been launched under the program to offer more holistic healthcare.
During the polio campaign this time there will be health camps across extremely high-risk UCs to cater to the healthcare needs of communities, especially women and children.
Despite the pandemic, childhood immunization to prevent childhood diseases must not be ignored as the benefits of vaccination are clear, since frequent campaigns have significantly reduced the incidents of polio across the country.
Children can be saved from childhood diseases like polio through vaccination and the team seeks the medias help to raise awareness regarding this.
Efforts in the program have resulted in around 50% reduction in refusals and missed children but this must be decreased even further, especially in Karachi.
Pakistan is one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with Afghanistan and has so far reported a total of 01 polio case in 2021.
The Pakistan Pediatric Association, Pakistan Medical Islamic Medical Association, medical experts across the world, as well as prominent religious scholars in Pakistan, and across the region endorse the oral polio vaccine as the safest and most effective, for not only preventing polio but also eradicating it from the environment.
Polio vaccine is the safest and most effective way to save our children from polio, please cooperate with the teams when they come to your doorstep.
Remember polio has no cure but can be easily prevented through vaccination and workers are being deployed to every doorstep, so please cooperate with them and help save the future of Pakistan and eradicate polio.