Pun­jab achieves anti-po­lio tar­gets

Pakistan Observer - - NATIONAL - MUHAM­MAD SULE­MAN

LA­HORE—Pun­jab has achieved cov­er­age tar­gets set for po­lio cam­paign of May 2016. The data was shared in the post-cam­paign re­view meet­ing of the po­lio erad­i­ca­tion part­ners in the pro­vin­cial Emer­gency Oper­a­tion Cen­ter here Mon­day.

The meet­ing was chaired by EOC Co­or­di­na­tor Dr Mu­nir Ahmed and at­tended by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of WHO, UNICEF and Gates Foun­da­tion. The meet­ing was ap­prised that out of a tar­get of 18,341,281 as many as 17.97m chil­dren were vac­ci­nated dur­ing the stip­u­lated three days of cam­paign held be­tween 23-25 May and the re­main­ing chil­dren were vacci-nated dur­ing the 14 days fol­low up.

Dr. Mu­nir Ahmed, who also heads Pun­jab’s Ex­panded Pro­gram on Im­mu­niza­tion, said that in or­der to achieve best re­sults, all mi­cro-plans will be re­viewed be­tween till Au­gust and the data of chil­dren not avail­able dur­ing the last cam­paign will be at-tached with the mi­cro plan of ev­ery union coun­cil for the com­ing cam­paigns.

He said a to­tal of 43,848 teams were con­sti­tuted for the cam­paign that in­cluded 36,848 mo­bile, 4,340 fixed sites and 2,314 tran­sit teams. The EOC Co­or­di­na­tor also di­rected the staff to en­sure prepara­tory ac­tiv­i­ties in line with Na­tional Emer­gency Plan for Po­lio Erad­i­ca­tion.

The Na­tional Im­mu­niza­tion Days are held coun­try-wide and Pun­jab or­ga­nized the cam­paign in 3550 union coun­cils of the prov­ince. Po­lio is a na­tional emer­gency and the pro­vin­cial Emer­gency Oper­a­tion Cen­ter serves as a con­trol room to co­or­di­nate with districts and stream­line mi­cro plan­ning, vac­cine sup­ply and map­ping of pop­u­la­tion at greater risk to po­lio virus.

Pak­istan is one of the two re­main­ing coun­tries where po­liovirus is still en­demic. Ad­di­tion­ally, Pun­jab has shown good re­sults vis-a-vis sew­er­age sur­veil­lance of drains for de­tec­tion of po­liovirus in en­vi­ron­ment. Only a to­tal of 12 out of 144 (8%) en­vi­ron­men­tal sam­ples tested pos­i­tive for Wild Po­lio Virus in 2015 in com­par­i­son to 35 out of 152 (23%) in 2014.

How­ever, the in­ter­mit­tent de­tec­tion of virus from en­vi­ron­men­tal sam­ples in low risk ar­eas of the prov­ince from four sam­pling sites of Rawalpindi, La­hore, Mul­tan and Faisalabad in­di­cates that pock­ets of un­der im­mu­nized chil­dren be­long­ing to mi­gra­tory pop­u­la­tion trav­el­ing to Pun­jab ei­ther due to con­flicts, in search of liveli­hood, is al­low­ing the virus to sur­vive and spread. Al­though the per­cent­age of still missed chil­dren is not very high in Pun­jab but the num­ber is quite sig­nif­i­cant.

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