KARACHI: All arrangements have been finalised to vaccinate 2,43,407 children belonging to 11 union councils of Karachi that reported no less than 21 confirmed cases of polio this year only with all adequate measures for strict vigilance during the special campaign explicitly focussed on these high risk UCs from Nov 15 to 17.
Members of Steering Committee comprising Commissioner Karachi, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Sindh Health Secretary, Iqbal Durrani and AIG – Police, Ghulan Qadir Thebo addressing a press conference Thursday evening said they have been entrusted upon with the responsibility by Sindh Chief Minister to ensure 100% vaccination of 8,12,973 kids from Karachi and help eradicate polio virus from the environment in minimum possible time.
Commissioner Karachi said with a view to achieve the target a pragmatic approach has been adopted under which two campaigns would be launched in Karachi in the current month during which all under- five children, across the board, belonging to all 128 UCs would be given the anti polio vaccine from Nov 10 to 12, while with an interval of two days, another campaign from Nov 15 to 17 will be undertaken in 11 high risk UCs only.
He informed the media that the high risk areas that reported polio virus cases in Karachi, a city that reported no polio case in 2012, included UC four, five and eight in Gadap town, UC two in Baldia town, UC seven in Orangi town, UC nine in SITE town, UC one and two in Landhi town, UC two in Bin Qasim Town, UC three in Korangi and UC two in Liaquatabad.
These 11 UCs, pertain to districts Korangi, Central, West and East, in the metropolis, said the AIG – Police, Thebo sharing details about measures being adopted to protect the vaccinators and other members of the polio teams, assigned responsibilities during the campaigns for the month of November.
Siddiqui told journalists that special efforts have been made to develop close coordination with religious scholars of the city as well as community leaders, Imam of mosques in 11 UCs and also the teachers of religious schools there to motivate parents, families and the communities to ensure that no refusals are made and children are not denied of their right to quality life.
Sindh Secretary for Health, Iqbal Durrani expressing his confidence that the target of polio eradication would be achieved in minimum possible time, said a fool proof strategy has also been evolved to ensure that no complacency is registered and each and every child pertaining to targeted age group is necessarily covered, without any failure.
Shahnaz Wazir Ali, a member of national committee for eradication of polio virus, also present on the occasion said the OPV campaign initiated by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, during her premiership in 1994 led to marked decline in the incidence rate of the crippling disease, however, over the years owing to obvious reasons the virus struck the local children with unusual severity.
She referred to the fact that refusals to administer OPV to their children among families, particularly those from tribal areas has added a new dimension to the challenge that has to be addressed with a renewed and innovative zeal.