Karachi  -   A five-day anti-polio campaign was formally inaugurated at District West on Thursday.

Under the freshly initiated campaign, a total of 1.9 million children aged five or below would be vaccinated in all union councils of the District West. The inauguration was performed by West Deputy Commissioner Zahid Hussain Memon.

Talking to the media after the inaugural, the DC West said that the city administration was committed to playing its due role in eliminating poliovirus from the city.

Zahid appreciated the role of international partners in polio eradication and hoped that Pakistan would be a polio-free country soon.

He said that no child should be missed, for any reason, from a vaccine preventable disease and it was duty of all stakeholders to make sure every child was given polio drops.

He said that the government would also work for improvement of micro plan and strategy.

“We need to involve community maximum in anti polio programmes and get their full support. Community support based strategy would be developed in this connection,” added the deputy commissioner.

He informed the media that all departments concerned had been asked to focus on refusal cases to get rid of the crippling disease and persuade parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated. The total case count for Sindh in 2018 is 1. However a total of 8 cases have been reported across the country this year.

coordinator EOC Sindh Umar Farooq Bullo said that “there has been more than 99% reduction in polio cases since 2014 and there has been great progress in programme implementation in Sindh and Pakistan, however environment samples are positive and therefore we must maintain the momentum and keep vaccinating children to save them from polio.” In 2014 there were 306 cases of polio across the country, in 2015 there were 54, in 2016 there were 20 and in 2017 there were eight cases of polio in the country. Meanwhile, in the province of Sindh there were 30 polio cases in 2014 in compared to two polio cases in 2017 which were both from Karachi. Northern Sindh has not reported a polio case in more than two years. The case count of eight in Pakistan and two in Sindh was 2017 is a historical low for both the country and the province.

The coordinator EOC Sindh said: “We have reduced cases through intensive polio drives but we are facing refusals because of repeated vaccination, we would like to take this opportunity to inform the masses that repeated vaccination is necessary for polio eradication and to ensure children are safe from polio.”

The Pakistan Pediatric Association and medical experts recommend that every child must take two drops of the vaccine every time it is offered. In order to save their children from polio, parents must vaccinate them with two drops of the polio vaccine during every campaign. The creation of the emergency operation centres in the provinces have gone a long way to improve the programme as all partners involved in polio eradication work as one team and sit under one roof.