Three-day polio vaccination drive underway across Pakistan
LAHORE: A countrywide three-day polio immunization campaign began on Wednesday in which over seven million children will be administered polio vaccines, ARY News reported.
Around 5.9 million children — under the age of five years — will be administered anti-polio drops in eight districts of Punjab throughout the three days. The health department has formed 15,212 polio vaccination teams for the anti-polio campaign.
In Multan, 2068 teams will administer polio vaccines to 0.8 million children.
In Sukkur district of Sindh 2,92,837 children will be immunized from the crippling disease of polio.
The provincial health department of Balochistan has launched anti-polio drive in 12 districts of the province, in which 1.6 million children will be administered anti-polio drops by the vaccination teams.
Strict security measures have been taken to ensure safety of the polio vaccination teams.
Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan are only two countries in the world where polio still remains endemic, according to a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) statement.
The campaign to get rid of the polio virus in Pakistan has gained some recent successes, with the number of new cases down last year, but violence against vaccination workers has slowed the effort.
The vaccination teams working to immunise children against polio in various parts of Pakistan are often targeted by militant groups, who say the campaign is a cover for Western spies or accuse workers of administering drugs designed to sterilise children.
Angela Kearney, the country representative of UNICEF in Pakistan, said on Wednesday that through coordinated and collaborative efforts of the world organisations and the Pakistani government, polio would be eradicated from the country by the year end.