ISLAMABAD - Elite private schools which refuse to immunise their children against polio during vaccination campaigns would face strict action on the party of relevant authorities as this practice may pose a high risk of polio outbreak and could pose a health threat to the rest of the population.
Children at private schools may face the greatest risk from the polio outbreak and could pose a health threat to others as well, warned a World Health Organisation (WHO) staffer wishing not to be named.
Such schools could become reservoirs of the Polio virus as the risk was similar to that from groups and travelers of other areas where vaccination campaigns could not be held due precarious security situation and refusals, he maintained.
According to information, officials have planned to forward the case to the CDA Board to take action. Their cases may be referred to the magistrate and they may be declared punishable with fine.
The authorities have also decided to write to the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) to take an appropriate action against the schools according to its laws.
According to the CDA bylaw, any person or institution, which creates an environment that is conducive for the spread of any disease, is liable for punishment.
CDA Health Director Dr. Hassan Orooj when contacted said, though, the coverage during the recent polio campaign remained 98 per cent in the capital city but the polio workers always face problems during campaigns whenever they go to a few elite private schools to immunise the children.
"Now we have planned to forward a proposal to penalise them."
During a recent vaccination campaign that ran from September 30 to October 2, around 553 teams of polio workers had immunised the children against polio in 16 zones of the capital city but in these schools the children could not be administered polio drops due to non-cooperative attitude of the school administrations. The schools include: Ecole des Lumieres - French-American School in F-10/3, Beaconhouse, Head Start and Roots International in F-7, ICAS Islamabad College of Arts and Sciences, Bahria Foundation and International Grammar School in F-11, the City School in I-8, EMS (Elementary Montessori System) in F-11.
"Neither they showed any certificate that the children have been immunised nor they allowed the teams to vaccinate the children. They just avoid it because it's a government campaign and don't understand the importance of the campaigns', said the officials. Meanwhile, three more cases on Monday took the national polio case count to 39. Two new cases were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and one from North Waziristan.
Husna, daughter of Minabaz, a 13-month-old female child, is resident of Spin Kabar, area of Tehsil Bara in Khyber Agency. The second patients is Uzair, son of Daud Khan who is a 13-month-old male child and resident of Qambar Khel, area of Tehsil Bara in Khyber Agency.
This is 12th polio case of Khyber Agency this year. And the third victim of the disease is Nasirullah, son of Shal Afzan. He is a 10-month-old male child and resident of village Shameri, area of Thesil Mir Ali. This is 11th polio case from North Waziristan this year.
During a recent national campaign held from August 19 to September 6 in phases, around 400,000 children had missed the polio drops. Besides, 250,000 children in South and North Waziristan Agencies have been remained unvaccinated since June 2012 due to a ban against polio immunisation imposed by Taliban.