ISLAMABAD, Feb 23 (APP):Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan on Wednesday launched the first nationwide polio immunization campaign of the year 2022 here at Rural Health Center (RHC) Tarlai.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr Faisal said that more than 43 million children will be immunized during the drive and for this a workforce of 339,521 polio frontline staff will provide polio vaccines at every doorstep.
“Government of Pakistan remains committed to eradicating polio and focusing on well-coordinated efforts at both the federal and provincial level to realize the dream of making Pakistan a polio-free country,” Dr. Faisal said.
He stressed the important role of parents and caregivers towards the success of repeated vaccination campaigns. “It’s every Pakistani’s national duty to ensure that their own children, as well as children around them, are administered the polio vaccine in each campaign.”
National Coordinator, National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC), Dr Shahzad Baig said that the vaccination campaign already kicked off in six districts of South Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on February 21 to ensure extensive focus and monitoring in the high-priority area, and on February 28 in the remaining parts of the country.
He added, on January 27, Pakistan marked a major milestone with no wild polio case reported in the last 12 months. There is still an imminent risk of poliovirus to any unvaccinated child across the border as children are moving with families.
He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries left with the poliovirus.
He said, “Currently, poliovirus transmission in the country is the lowest it has ever been. Wild polio virus remains in the environment in certain districts in KP, posing a threat to resurgence in cases. We are calling all parents and caregivers to cooperate with vaccinators as no child is safe until all children are vaccinated.”
He said that polio vaccine is safe, and it helps to build immunity among children against the poliovirus. The repeated polio vaccination campaigns are imperative for building immunity among children and preventing possible death or lifelong paralysis, he added.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Polio Programme is working in partnership with various stakeholders including communities, local influencers, pediatric and medical associations, media, social activists, religious leaders, the Pakistan Cricket Board, among many others.