Army to help polio drive at Pak Afghan border
QUETTA: The army has assured the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Balochistan that the coverage of polio vaccines to children at the Pak-Afghan border, particularly near Friendship Gate in Chaman, will be improved. An important meeting was held on Wednesday at the operation centre to review the strategy of vaccinating children at Permanent Transit Points (PTP), chaired by EOC Coordinator Dr Syed Saifur Rehman.
The meeting was attended by representatives of Southern Command Major Inam Haider, UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme (UPAP) official Colonel Ehtisham, United Nations Children's Fund's (Unicef) Dr Abdul Aziz, World Health Organisation's ( WHO) Dr Ibrahim Yallow and Dr Sarfraz Jamaldini. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's (BMGF) Dr Masood Khan Jogezai, officer from the N-STOP programme Dr Aftab Kakar and Dr Anwar from Extended Programme for Immunisation (EPI) were also part of the meeting.
WHO's Dr Sarfraz informed the meeting that there are a total of 57 PTPs out of which 46 are functional - six PTPs are with Afghanistan and 16 are inter provincial. "Facilities at the Friendship Gate in Chaman are not up to the mark," Dr Sarfraz informed the meeting.
He said that there is a need of another PTP near the PakAfghan border to improve the coverage of vaccination. The meeting was also informed about the lack of shades, umbrellas, poor maintenance of cold chain, security concerns and validation of vaccination data. EOC Coordinator Dr Syed Saifur Rehman has said that the improvement in coverage near the Pak-Afghan border will significantly help in eradicating polio from Pakistan.