LAHORE    -   Director General Health Services Pun­jab Dr. Haroon Jehangir Khan and Country Representative World Health Organization Dr. Palitha Mahipala for­mally launched the Oral Cholera Vac­cination (OCV) Campaign in a Public School in UC 70 near Bund Road here on Wednesday.

The campaign is being conducted in selected 17 high-risk Union Councils of Lahore across 9 towns of the provincial metropolis in two phases. The phase-1 of the campaign is being conducted from 10-15 August (14th August will be day off). The campaign is being organized with the support of WHO and UNICEF. Present on the occasion were Director EPI Punjab Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Awan, EOC Coordinator Syeda Ramala Ali, UNICEF Health Specialist Dr. Tahir Manzoor, WHO Head of Of­fice Punjab Dr. Jamshaid Ahmed, ADCG Lahore Shahid Kathia, Director CDC Dr. Shahid Magsi, Director IRMNCH Dr. Khalil Ahmed, CEO Health Lahore Dr. Faisal, CEO Education Parvaiz Ahmed and staff from government and part­ner organization. Explaining the back­ground and rationale of the campaign, Director EPI Dr. Mukhtar said that the Oral Cholera Vaccine will be adminis­tered to all population of one year and above in the selected UCs. He said in order to stop the increasing number of AWD/Cholera cases in certain UCs, the technical experts recommended holding a case response. Vaccination, he added, was a cost effective public health intervention. He said total target for the campaign was 1.2 million and it would be conducted in the follow­ing UCs: Aziz Bhatti Town (Taj Bagh 57, Fateh Garh 44, Al Faisal Town 59), Cantt (W-8), Data Gunj Bux Town (Karim Park 69, Ganj Klar 70, Sanda Kalan 85), Gulberg (Al-Hamra 95), Nishter Town (Farid Colony 137), Ravi Town (Delhi Gate 27), Samanabad Town (Ichra 100), Shalimar Town (Chah Miran UC 19, Shadbagh UC 23, Faiz Bagh UC 25, Angoori Bagh 46), Wahga Town (Sala­mat Pura 40, Daroghawala UC 42).

EOC Coordinator Syeda Rama Ali as­sured PEI support for the campaign in key areas. Overall 468 mobile and 62 fixed teams (31 morning and 31 eve­ning) will administer vaccine. Micro­plans were developed using Polio cam­paign strategy including Areas, Targets, HR, Vaccine & Logistics, Supervisory Plan, AEFI & Waste Management Plan and Maps.

EPI Punjab and DHA Lahore conduct­ed trainings for Supervisors, UCMOs, Area Incharges, AEFI Focal Persons and teams.

Director CDC Dr. Shahid Magsi said Punjab, especially Lahore, have been reporting an increasing number of AWD/Cholera cases over the past year. He said In the year 2022, Punjab re­ported over 27000 suspected cases. He said CDC surveillance team identi­fied areas where high transmission was reported in Lahore.

The Director General Health Services constituted a Technical Working Group on Cholera to collect, consolidate & an­alyze the existing data and recommend action plan.

WHO Country Representative for Pakistan Dr. Palitha Mahipala said that vaccination provided a good sup­port to controlling AWD/ Cholera and there has to be an equally strong focus on WASH awareness especially water cleaning measures like Cholrination. He said OCV was a safe vaccine with good results.

Unicef Health Specialist Dr. Tahir Manzoor assured UNICEF support in awareness and communication. Later, DG Health Punjab Dr. Haroon Jehangir Khan and WR WHO Dr. Palitha Mahi­pala administered vaccine to people of different age groups to mark the formal beginning of the campaign.