PESHAWAR - In the wake of poor law and order situation, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has suspended the polio campaign in the province and a new schedule will be announced after a meeting of EPI officials in next couple of days.

Talking to TheNation, EPI deputy director Dr Janbaz Khan said the district administration of Peshawar had decided to suspend the drive and the next date for vaccination campaign would be announced later. He said no date had been decided so far.

An official of the district administration told this scribe that polio campaign was suspended due to complications in restoration of old local government system. As a notification in this regard had not been issued the duties could not be assigned to the officials, he added.

Polio campaign was suspended in the past due to attacks on polio teams on Dec 25 when gunmen in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera targeted eight volunteers of polio campaign including two women. The series of attacks have spread panic among the polio workers and threats have also been issued by unidentified people in Gul Bahar area of Peshawar to the polio teams busy in campaign.

The government has decided to set up a polio control room at Provincial Disaster Management Authority to coordinate activities of polio vaccinators in the province with the district administrations. The control room has been established on special directives of Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ghulam Dastagir Khan who will attend the PDMA office to coordinate with DCOs of the province.

All divisional commissioners would feed information about the future anti-polio campaigns and progress reports of such drives during the course of their implementation to the chief secretary office on regular basis. The official said the deputy commissioners of all districts and their assistant commissioners would keep proper liaisons with their respective divisional commissioners to collect the required information from their areas and share it with the provincial authorities on a daily basis.

The control room would collect the relevant data and present summary details of National Emergency Action Plan preparation to the chief secretary and the provincial secretary health within 10 days and five days prior to the campaign.

Besides, the newly-established organisation will also be responsible to pass on the results of the post-campaign assessment, performed by the partner organisations, including WHO and Unicef, to the chief secretary and secretary health.

According to district administration of Peshawar polio drops will be administered to 800,000 children while 18,000 teams have been formed for the anti-polio drive who will go from door to door to vaccinate the kids.