rawalpindi - A target to vaccinate 840,000 children of below five-year age has been set for the anti-polio campaign to be started from March 12 to March 16 in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. This was disclosed during a meeting held in the chair of Deputy Commissioner, Talat Mehmood Gondal to review the performance of health department officials to combat poliovirus in the area.

The meeting was also attended by District Officer Health Dr Abdul Jabbar, Dr Uzma Hayat, Coordinator WHO, District Health Officer-II Dr Amir Sheikh, Dr Sarwat, Deputy Director Social Welfare Abad Ullah Sajid, representative of Allied Hospitals and other concerned officers.

The meeting was informed that 221 UC medical officers and 496 Area-incharge have been appointed for administering polio drops to children in the twin cities.

Moreover, some 2,333 Mobile Teams and 287 Fixed Points have also been established for this purposed. The health officials told the meeting that total of 2,739 teams have been designated for this task and health officers will monitor progress of the campaign. Arrangements to guard polio workers during the campaign have also been taken.

During the meeting, it was informed that after finding environment samples for polio negative in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the health authority decided to establish only two permanent transit posts to administer polio drops to the children coming from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The environment samples to detect poliovirus in the sewerage of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for the month of February was negative, relaxing the health authority, it was informed.

In January, the poliovirus was found in the sewers of the twin cities and the district administration had been directed by Commissioner Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry to establish 12 permanent transit camps on the border of the district.

While addressing the meeting, DC Talat Mehmood Gondal directed health department to devise the finest micro plans for 3rd anti-polio campaign to be started from March 12 to March 16.

He said that polio has become more of a social and national responsibility than that of a professional responsibility so all other departments are advised to work according to their Standard Operating procedure (SOPs) and cooperate with the health department in this regard.

He directed the health department to cover updated targets keeping in view the shortcomings and limitations of previous campaigns. He said that special attention needs to be paid to the not available children and refusal cases.

He said that active participation of parents is needed to make this campaign successful. He ordered Deputy Health officers and Union Council Medical Officers to establish a monitoring mechanism and submit a daily report as no lethargy in this campaign will be tolerated.

The meeting was informed that the polio virus was active in Kabul to Peshawar and there was a need to start work to save the children from the poliovirus as mostly people from KP travelling on daily basis to Rawalpindi and they might bring the virus.

The officials were of the view that the anti-polio vaccine should be given to the children coming from KP on priority basis and transit posts should be established for this purpose.

“The poliovirus found in Peshawar and Kabul was same so the provincial government decided to administer anti-polio vaccine to every child coming from KP and it was decided to establish more than 13 permanent transit posts, including five in cantonment areas,” said a senior official of district administration.

He said that the health authority received goods and staff for two permanent transit posts at the Pirwadhai General Bus Stand and Rawalpindi Railways Station. He said that the staff and goods were not provided by the government so far.