LAHORE - In the wake of ongoing virus circulation and floods in some areas of Punjab, all districts need to ensure that polio preparations for the National Immunization Days (NIDs) are up to the mark, said Ms Syedah Ramallah Ali, the Punjab Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Coordinator. The coordinator was addressing a virtual readiness meeting organized with all districts of Punjab on Thursday ahead of the NIDs starting from Aust 22. Polio eradication partners also participated in the meeting. In Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad, the campaign will continue for seven days, with two days dedicated to reaching Not Available children. In the rest of the province, the NIDs will last five days, also with two of these earmarked to reaching Not Available children.

The EOC coordinator inquired the districts about plans to cover flood affected populations, status of micro-plans validation, distribution of logistics like vaccine, vaccine carriers and team trainings. The coordinator also stressed on districts to ensure data entered in system is accurate. “Sewage samples collected from Lahore, Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur have tested positive for polio. The reemergence of the virus must send an urgent message to parents to ensure that children are administered two polio drops under every polio immunization drive”, stressed Ms Ramallah. “I would urge all districts to observe strict oversight in preparation of micro-plans, preparation of communication plans as well as implementation of trainings. Identification of missed areas and poorly covered areas is of significant concern. Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad need to prioritize vaccination at transit points and drainage union councils. All tertiary care hospitals need to ensure that teams are alert. The districts need to ensure that children who have defaulted on their vaccination are reached”, said the EOC coordinator. The EOC coordinator who chaired a marathon 3-hour meeting with districts called upon the health teams to develop a plan for coverage of children in flood-affected areas soon after the water has receded. “The union councils affected with floods need to be notified to the EOC and their coverage plan needs to be developed so that children are vaccinated as soon as water recedes”, stressed the EOC coordinator.

Anti polio drive to start on 22nd in Punjab

Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad need to prioritise vaccination at transit points

“Polio eradication remains an urgent priority of government. We must maintain the highest level of discipline to keep Punjab polio-free”, observed the coordinator. The EOC coordinator urged districts to maintain close coordination with law enforcement agencies, ensure teams morale is boosted and they strictly observe Covid SOPs. Meanwhile, an anti polio drive will start on August 22 in the province. According to the Health department sources on Thursday, the campaign will remain intact till August 28 in high risk districts, including Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad, while the campaign will conclude on August 26 in rest of the districts. The Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department has set a target to vaccinate 22 million children during the drive. A meeting presiding over by Provincial Minister for Primary Health M Akhtar Malik and Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal was held here to review arrangements for the campaign. The minister directed to ensure the campaign successful and deputy commissioners would themselves monitor the drive. The chief secretary said in the meeting that ratio of Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) should remain 80 per cent. In the briefing given by the secretary primary health, it was informed that 85,193 mobile teams had been made for the campaign and more than 200,000 workers would perform duties.

An international organisation working against polio participated in the meeting as well.