KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah Monday said that polio has become a big challenge for his government and vowed to make the province polio-free.
“I have accepted this challenge and In sha Allah would turn Sindh polio free province shortly,” he said while presiding over a meeting on polio here at the New Secretariat.
Health Minister DR Sikandar Mendhro, MNA Dr Azra Pechuho, Provincial Polio Coordinator Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, IG Sindh Police AD Khawaja, Additional IG Karachi Mushtaq Maher, Secretary Health Fazal Pechuho, all divisional commissioners, CEO PPHI, PD EPI Fayaz Jatoi, representatives of federal government, representatives of World Health Organisation and Unicef were also present on the occasion.
Briefing the chief minister, the PD EPI Fayaz Jatoi said that during 2016 some 19 polio cases were detected across Sindh, of them eight in Sindh, eight in KPK, two in FATA, one in Balochistan and zero case in the Punjab. He added that out of eight cases of Sindh seven are in rural areas and one in Karachi.
The chief minister was told that in 2015 there were 54 polio cases in the country, including 12 in Sindh, 17 in KPK, 16 in FATA, seven in Balochistan and two in Punjab.
Murad said that it was dismal that Punjab, Balochistan, FATA and KPK have improved but Sindh has shown a negligible progress. This shows that there is some problem which we have to address.
The meeting was informed that target of the campaign launched in end of September and December 2016 in Karachi was to cover 2.2 million children and 6.1 million children in rural areas of Sindh. Out of 2.2 million were not available and 1.7 percent refused to intake polio vaccine in the megapolis.
The CM expressed his displeasure saying that it was utmost responsibility of the district administration to ensure 100 percent coverage. “We all have to take ownership of the anti-polio drive, otherwise Sindh would remain lagged behind and I would not allow this,” he said.
It was also disclosed that the staff in the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation-managed health facilities are reluctant to participate in polio and EPI activities.
It was also underlined that Landhi UC-I and UC -2, Site UC 9, Baldia UC 2 are at high risk because of lack of health facilities. Apart from it there are non-functional hospitals in UC-4 Gadap Janat Gul Hospital. On this the chief minister directed chief secretary to talk to KMC administration and direct them to ensure proper participation otherwise action would be taken.
In the meeting it was disclosed that in Sujawal Hospital there was no District Health Officer and on last Friday the DHOs were posted at Matiari and Jamshoro and some of the DHOs are near retirement. The DHOs of Ghotki and Kamber have dual charges. On this the chief minister directed health Minister to fill the vacant positions of DHOs on priority basis and those who are retiring much be replaced timely and take away dual charges from the DHOs and post there genuine officers.
The chief minister noted that there were only 2200 Ice-Lined Refrigerators and due to prolonged power outages polio vaccines are turning ineffective.
On this the chief minister directed the chief secretary to procure ILR operating on solar system. “I cannot wait for donor agencies to send the ILR because polio is a serious issue, therefore we should purchase the cooling system,” he said.