QUETTA - A campaign to administer anti polio vaccination to approximately 2.6 million children under five years of age will be launched across Balochistan from August 1, according to the province’s polio eradication programme head.
Syed Zahid Shah, the provincial Emergency Operation Centre coordinator, said 11,539 teams of health workers have been formed for the seven-day campaign. He was briefing a meeting chaired by Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili to review arrangements for the campaign in Quetta and other districts of the province.
Quetta DIG Operations, deputy commissioners of all districts and representatives of the Unicef, WHO and other relevant bodies participated in the meeting. Mr Uqaili urged the stockholders, including local administration, to take an active part in the efforts to completely eradicate the poliovirus from Balochistan in 2023. He said the presence of the virus in Afghanistan was a challenge for Balochistan, especially in the districts of Chaman, Qila Abdullah and Pishin which border Afghanistan. The chief secretary added that the provincial government was utilising all available resources to completely eradicate the virus with the cooperation of partner institutions. No negligence will be tolerated by the relevant authorities during the polio campaign, he warned.
“With effective anti-polio campaigns, the virus has been controlled to a massive extent in the province, which is great progress.” The chief secretary said that the security of polio workers should be ensured in all areas and additional personnel should be deployed in areas where the law and order situation was poor. Later, Mr Uqaili inaugurated the campaign by administering polio drops to a child. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two nations in the world where poliovirus was still endemic.
In March, the country reported its first poliovirus case of 2023 after a three-year-old boy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bannu district became the latest victim of the crippling disease.
Districts in southern KP and Balochistan — along the Pak-Afghan border — are still considered to be the virus hotspots.
In 2022, 20 cases of wild poliovirus and 41 positive environmental samples were reported from three districts in southern KP.