Lahore-Punjab Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Coordinator and head of the polio prorgamme Ms Syedah Ramallah has called for higher focus on high-risk mobile populations so that every vulnerable child receives critical polio vaccination on time. 

The coordinator was speaking during meetings with the Deputy Commissioners of Attock and Rawalpindi on Wednesday. 

The head of the polio programme travelled to Attock on Wednesday in first leg of her mission. 

After meeting the top officials in Attock, the coordinator travelled to Rawalpindi the same day to meet with the administration and health department high-ups. Polio eradication partners and the District Health Management officials were also in attendance during the meetings. 

The EOC coordinator stressed on the vaccination, profiling and mapping of the high-risk mobile populations. 

“The profiling, registration and vaccination of communities belonging to the vulnerable mobile groups needs to be reconfirmed before the next campaign”, instructed Ms Ramallah. 

“The district has persistent data quality as well as micro-plan issues which need to be fixed. Areas which are located across the provincial boundary inside Punjab need to be combed to ensure that all households are accounted for and no child is out of the micro-plan”, stressed the EOC coordinator. 

The head of the polio programme expressed concern about Hazro tehsil and urged the district to focus on this remote area. 

During the meeting Deputy Commissiner  Hassan Waqar Cheema assured the coordinator that micro-plans will be fixed before October 15. 

The DC sought the support of the polio programme in sensitizing communities on polio eradication through various media platforms. 

The district health officials who were present on the occasion assured of addressing data quality issues. 

“If there are any persistent issues the district will fix them immediately. Strict action will be taken if data accuracy is found to be questionable”, assured the district health administration officials.

Later in the day the EOC coordinator travelled to Rawalpindi and chaired a meeting with the health management team alongwith DC Tahir Javed. 

The coordinator urged the health department officials to be extra vigilant as virus circulation was going on in Rawalpindi. 

“We have learned from experience that virus circulation in big cities is intense and rapid. Therefore mega districts are more vulnerable”, said Ms Ramallah. 

The coordinator expressed concern about large number of missed children and called upon the health authorities to conduct registration and profiling of such children. 

The EOC coordinator urged the district to focus on refusals and persistently missed children and added that polio staff also need to strengthen essential immunisation.

“The improvement  in essential immunisation will have a very positive impact on polio eradication efforts”, said the coordinator.

Stressing on the need to sensitise parents about polio eradication efforts, Ms Ramallah called upon the district health authorities to reach out to parents through school administrations. 

The district administration assured the coordinator to take every step to sensitise parents. The district health team also assured the coordinator to depute teams at the departure points at bus stations so that children are vaccinated and polio virus spread is blocked. 

The EOC assured the district of every possible support.