400,000 children missed nationwide during polio drive

December 25, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Almost 400,000 children were missed during the nationwide polio vaccination campaign held this month, National Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Dr Rana Mohammad Safdar told the health minister. He said 260,000 frontline workers participated in the campaign.
`Almost 90pc of the 37.73 million under-five children targeted were covered during the campaign and 92pc of the children who were missed were vaccinated during the catch-up. An extended catch-up is being conducted this week to vaccinate the remaining children,` he said.
`Despite a significant case decline, the presence of the virus in sewerage water from urban areas indicates that our job is not yet done. We are working hard on fully plugging the immunity gaps by dressing the challenges in core reservoirs,` Dr Safdar said.
Talking about strategies for converting low-level transmission to complete interruption, he shared the highlights of the Peshawar and Gadap Town Karachi Action Plan currently being implemented in coordination with provincial and district governments.
`Over 95pc parents remain supportive, however, full community ownership across will determine our success during the next few months. Intense efforts are underway to correct the ill-founded perceptions of resisting communities about vaccination through focused community engagement at street level now,` he added. According to a statement, Federal Minister for National Health Services (NHS) Aamer Mehmood Kiani advised the country team to go all out for interrupting the polio virus within the current low transmission season, which starts from September and ends in April.
`Reduction of annual polio case counts from 20,000 to only 8 this year indicates a remarkable progress in protecting children from a devastating, yet vaccine preventable disease. With virus confined to small pockets of persistent transmission within core reservoirs, the country has a historic opportunity in hand to ensure a polio free future for generations` the minister is quoted as saying.
`The government is fully committed to stop the transmission of polio in Pakistan and doing everything possible to achieve the cherished goal,` said Minister Kiani.
`Guided by our National Task Force having national and provincial leadership on board, we are striving not only to sustain the gains, but to accelerate the progress by focusing on reaching the repeatedly missed children during this winter,` he added. (courtesy Dawn)