islamabad-Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) on Tuesday initiated the second last polio drive of the current low transmission season to immunise 0.33 million children in the city, said an official.

The statement issued said that the polio campaign commenced across all provinces & areas of the country except Bajaur agency of FATAwhich will start later. A total of 37.71 million under five children will be vaccinated including 19.38 million in Punjab, 8.85 million in Sindh, 5.73 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2.46 million in Balochistan, 1 million in FATA, 0.7 million in AJK, 0.238 million in GB  and 0.33 million children in Islamabad.

During this campaign, Vitamin-A supplement will also be administered to around 35 million children aged between 6-59 months along with OPV aimed at boosting immunity against diseases including Measles. A total of 260,000 personnel will strive to achieve set targets across Pakistan including 24,661 Area In charges, 7,977 UC Medical Officers, 190,573 Mobile, 10,235 Fixed and 12,148 Transit team members.

The current Polio epidemiology in the country is best ever observed with case decline from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015 to 20 in 2016 and 8 in 2017. In 2018, only one polio case has so far been reported from district Dukki, Balochistan.

Prime Minister’s focal person for the Polio Eradication Program during her visit to the slum areas of the city said that though there has been no case reported from the twin cities for over two years but virus has been found in the environmental samples of both Islamabad and Rawalpindi drainage thus raising the concerns amongst officials and communities.

The Senator said that the Prime Minister has constituted a special task force to specifically monitor the campaign in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and report back to him on a daily basis to ensure maximum coverage during this and all the other upcoming campaigns.

The Senator paid a surprise visit to various localities in Islamabad including Tarlai and temporary settlements of Nomads. She was accompanied by National Coordinator for Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Dr Rana Safdar and other senior officers of the health ministry, ICT and CDA.

The Senator said that she would personally monitor the campaign in the city during every round. She also took notice of gaps in the provision of routine immunization services against nine deadly diseases of children in the area and issued directions to ensure that every child is immunized without fail.

Talking to the parents and communities during her field visit, the senator urged all segments of the society and especially the parents to facilitate the front line workers (Sehat Muhafiz) in this noble cause.

Several community elders in the visited areas welcomed the Senator and thanked the government of Pakistan for bringing Pakistan this close to complete eradication of polio.

“Our Sehat Muhafiz campaign has brought us much closer to complete polio eradication, we cannot afford to relax hence the leadership of EOC and I, have come out to support our valiant teams for getting rid of this disease completely” said Prime Minister’s Focal Person (PMFP), Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq while talking to the community elders and parents during her door to door visit.