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CM Murad directs taskforce to launch campaign for eradication of polio, measles

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday reiterated his resolve to eradicate polio and measles from Sindh by intensifying vaccination campaigns and launching awareness drives.

These issues came under discussion while he was presiding over a meeting of provincial taskforce for polio eradication here at the CM House.

Minister Health Dr Azra Pechuho, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, provincial secretaries of local government and health, Commissioner Karachi Sualeh Farooqui, Addl IG Karachi Dr Ameer Shaikh, WHO Team Leader Dr Abdi Rehman, Unicef team leader Lieven Desomer, BMGF Team Leader Dr Altaf Bosan, Rotary International Chair Aziz Memon, all divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners of Karachi and other concerned people were also present on this occasion.

Briefing the chief minister, Sindh Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Coordinator Fayaz Jatoi said that in 2018 to this date no polio case was reported in Sindh as compared to last year when two cases were reported and both were from Karachi, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Gadap.

Read More: Pakistan reaffirms commitment to polio eradication, says health minister

The chief minister was told that in Karachi samples are taken from 11 sites every month. In September, Sohrab Goth- Gadap, Chakora Nalla- Gulshan, Mohamamd Khan Colony-Baldia, Orangi Nala- SITE came positive while in rural areas of Sindh samples taken from six sites Jacobabad came positive.

To a question, Murad was told that the number of missed children due to refusals and non-availability of children at home in September anti-polio drive was recorded at 215,463, including 96,906 not available and 118,557 refused.

In rural areas of the province, the number of missed children in September was recorded at 94,875 which include 88,464 not available and 6,411 refusal cases.

The CM said that frequent positive environmental samples in Jacobabad and Kamber were not a good sign. The reasons may be seasonal population movement to and from Karachi and Quetta and drought related population displacement from Tharparkar and Umerkot to other parts of the province. Therefore, he directed the Taskforce to devise the strategy to control the situation accordingly.

Murad Ali Shah said that the leadership of the DCs was required more now than ever before. Because they were present in the field. “I want you [DCs] to control increasing community resistance to the polio vaccination.”

The chief minister directed Minister Health Dr Azra Pechuho to improve the performance of the district and taluka health officers in districts like Malir, West, Central, Jacobabad, Kamber, Sujawal and Matirai where frequent positive environmental samples were found.

He also expressed his displeasure on inadequate support form directorate of private schools and directed education department to talk to them to cooperate with polio teams in administering polio vaccine to their school children, otherwise take strict action against them.

Measles cases: The meeting was told that the measles cases have shown an increase during last four years. In 2015, 1175 measles suspected cases were reported, of them 281 were found confirmed and eight patients were died.

In 2016 out of 3421 suspected cases 1729 were found confirmed, of them 19 died. In 2017, 5779 suspected cases were tested, of them 3086 found confirmed and 35 died and in 2018 suspected cases increased to 7778, of them 788 have been confirmed and 122 died.

The chief minister said that the situation is quite alarming and there should be a thorough investigation into causes of measles outbreak. The health department must do its investigative work and simultaneously, the vigorous and focused campaign for measles vaccination should be launched.

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