LAHORE - Punjab Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator and head of the polio programme in Punjab Mr Khizer Afzaal has called upon districts to put in extraordinary efforts to make the upcoming national polio National Immunization Days (NIDs) a success and eradicate polio from Pakistan. He was talking to Districts’ Health Management Teams of 36 districts of Punjab. Mr Khizer Afzaal chaired the meeting while districts were connected via video link. Polio eradication partners were also present. “All districts especially Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad need to ensure that their preparations are up to the mark. In some of the districts the campaign is being held after 8 months. So, they need to make sure that everything is organized before the start of campaign. Special emphasis needed to be put on the micro-plans so that every child receives vaccination. The union councils which could not qualify the last micro plan quality assurance assessment need to be given special importance”, Mr Afzaal emphasised. During the meeting, the EOC head directed the districts to ensure that data was entered in the system 0on time and it was up to the mark. The EOC coordinator also suggested that since there was still enough time in the NIDs the districts still had time to prepare. Mr Khizer Afzaal specifically mentioned the risk from high-risk groups and emphasized that transit points vaccination needed to be strengthened so that transit teams vaccinated every child. “Transit routes will be critically important in the NIDs so that we reach every child who is on the move. If there are any gaps in the transit points vaccination, there is increased possibility that children will be missed which will allow the virus to spread. We cannot allow that. Districts need to make sure that transit points are properly manned and teams deployed have necessary training as well as vaccine to vaccinate every child”, he said. During the meeting Mr Afzaal called on the districts to also conduct a qualitative assessment of the high risk union councils through focus group discussions so that social hurdles to vaccination were understood and a community-based solution was reached. The national immunization campaign or NIDs will start from October 2 and continue till October 8 in mega districts including Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad. While in rest of the districts the campaign will last five days till October 6. Vitamin-A capsules will also be administered during the campaign to children aged 6-59 months. The capsules are administered twice a year during the NIDs after six months and they played an active role in boosting immunity of children. Punjab has recently conducted twin Outbreak Responses (OBR) in August and September to respond to positive environmental samples from Lahore and Rawalpindi sites. The first OBR was conducted in Fateh Jang, Hazro, Attock and Hassan Abdal tehsils of Attock district, Gujar Khan, Rawalpindi Cantonment, Rawalpindi City, Rawalpindi Rural and Taxila tehsils of Rawalpindi district and one union council of Mianwali. The campaign achieved high coverage as nearly 2 million children were vaccinated in seven days. The second OBR was organized in Lahore and Rawalpindi districts from September 4 to 10. Only selected union councils of both districts were part of the campaign. Nearly 1 million children were vaccinated in the seven-day campaign.