Over 13.5 million children under the age of five years in 36 districts have been administered polio drops during the third Sub-National Immunization Days campaign of the current year. The campaign covered nine districts of Punjab, eight districts of Sindh, six districts of Balochistan, and Islamabad.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the campaign was launched on December 5, targeting nine high-risk districts of the region. Over 100,000 trained and dedicated ‘Sehat Muhafiz’ were engaged in the vaccination drive to inoculate the targeted children at their doorstep. Federal Minister for National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination, Abdul Qadir Patel said, “If we can eliminate the polio virus from southern KP, we will succeed in eliminating polio from Pakistan altogether”. “We are actually quite close to the finish line, and we are determined to get there as soon as possible. Pakistan has made great strides in the fight against polio, with the virus circulation reduced to only one small part of the country”, he added.
Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operation Centre emphasized that the anti-polio campaign required collective action at all levels to completely eradicate the polio virus from the country. He said, “Our aim is to ensure timely and repeated vaccination of eligible children. High-risk districts are our top priority, and we are keen to eliminate the virus from the challenging areas while protecting the rest of the region as well,” he added.
“I particularly urge all parents and caregivers to get their children vaccinated in every vaccination drive. It is important to realize that the polio virus still exists in our surroundings, and no child is safe until all children are truly vaccinated,” Dr Shahzad Baig said.