Only 19 polio cases were reported in Pakistan in 2016 as compared to 54 cases in the year 2015 that is a positive sign of the result-oriented fight against polio.
No polio case was reported in Punjab during the same period, said Fayaz Jatoi, provincial director of Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) in a meeting presided over by Sindh chief minister Murad Shah at New Sindh Secretariat on Monday.
Jatoi further said that of 19 polio cases, 8 were reported in Sindh, 8 in KPK, 2 in FATA, 1 n Balochistan and none in Punjab. He said that out of 8 polio cases in Sindh, 7 were reported in rural areas and one in Karachi. “In 2015, there were 54 polio cases in the country, including 12 in Sindh, 17 in KPK, 16 in FATA, 7 in Balochistan and 2 in Punjab,” he said.
On this, chief minister said that it was painful that Sindh has not recorded much progress while Punjab, Balochistan, FATA and KPK improved their performance.
He said this showed some problems which needed to be addressed. Murad Shah said that the polio had become a big challenge for his government and vowed he accepted this challenge and God willing, he would turn Sindh polio-free province shortly.
The meeting was informed that the campaign launched at the end of September and December 2016, the target was to cover 2.2 million children in Karachi and 6.1 million children in rural areas of the province. In Karachi, 1.7 percent refused to intake polio vaccine and a considerable numbers were not available.
On this the chief minister expressed his displeasure saying that it was now responsibility of the district administration to ensure 100 percent coverage. “We all have to give ownership to the anti-polio drive, otherwise Sindh will remain lagged behind and I shall not allow this, he cautioned.
It was also disclosed that the staff in the KMC- managed health facilities were reluctant to participate in the anti-polio and EPI activities. It was also pointed out that Landhi UC-1 and UC-2, SITE UC-9, Baldia UC-2 were at high risk because of lack of health facilities.
Apart from it, there are non-functional hospitals in the UC-4 Gadap Janat Gul Hospital. On this the chief minister directed Chief Secretary to talk to the KMC administration and direct them to ensure proper participation otherwise action would be taken against them.
It was disclosed at the meeting that Sujawal had no District Health Officer (DHO) and the DHOs were posted at Matiari and Jamshoro last Friday while some of the DHOs were near retirement.
The DHOs of Ghotki and Kamber have dual charges. On this the chief minister directed health minister to fill the vacant positions of the DHOs on priority basis and those who were retiring must be replaced timely and said two DHOs should be relieved of additional charge by posting full-fledged officers there.
Murad Shah directed the minister and secretary health to activate Lady Health Workers (LHWs) and utilise their services for eradication of polio in Sindh.
Those who attended the meeting included Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mendhro, Dr Azra Pechuho, MNA, Provincial Polio Co-ordinator Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, IG Sindh police AD Khwaja, Additional IG Karachi Mushtaq Maher, Secretary Health Fazalullah Pechuho, all divisional commissioners, CEO PPHI, PD EPI, Fayaz Jatoi, representatives of federal government, representatives of WHO and Unicef and others.