Anti-polio campaign

Anti-polio campaign inaugurated in Charsadda

Rifaqat Ullah Razarwal

CHARSADDA: The Health Minister Shehram Tarakay on Monday inaugurated the five-day anti-polio vaccination campaign of 2020 at Nisatta Basic Health Unit.

During the campaign, 7800 teams will go door to door across the eight districts of the Khyber Pakhutnkhwa in which Charsadda, Malakand, Sawabi, Sawat, Nowshehra, Mardan, Bunir and Momand included, to ensure that more than 2.1 million children under the age of five receive two drops of the vaccine, which will protect them against poliovirus.

Health Minister Shehram Tarakai said to media that last year, 135 cases of poliovirus were reported in the country – “though we are in the year of 2020, but as the simple was collected on Dec 26,2019, therefore the cases has been placed in the list of last of the year,” he said. “The government has a firm resolve to defeat poliovirus transmission in the country through optimum utilization of this low transmission season,” he said.

Epidemiology of Polio immunization (EPI) Coordinator of KP Dr. Abdul Basit said “The February campaign would thus provide an opportunity to these children significantly mitigating the associated risks. Efforts from December-April will bridge the immunity gap that leads to a significant decrease in intensity of virus transmission in the second half of 2020.” According to the website of the polio programme, as many as 135 polio cases have been reported in 2019, compared to 12 in 2018 and only eight in 2017.

The provincial data for 2019 shows that 91 polio cases have been reported from KP, 25 from Sindh, 11 from Balochistan and eight from Punjab. Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus and mainly affecting children under the age of five. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, his/her protection against the virus is increased.

Repeated immunizations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free. However, there are only two countries in the world – Pakistan and Afghanistan – where polio cases are being reported. Pakistan remains under a polio-linked travel restriction imposed by the World Health Organization due to which, since 2014, every Pakistani travelling abroad has to carry a polio vaccination certificate.

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