Islamabad - Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Ayesha Raza Farooq has directed to start an independent monitoring of polio campaigns especially in high risk Union Councils (UCs) to analyse the reporting coverage of immunisation drives.

Ayesha Raza Farooq in her visit to the Federal Polio Control Room stressed the need to strengthen monitoring and evaluation mechanism at the grass root level and asked the provinces to analyse campaign data themselves too to evaluate performance at district level.

She reviewed the data received from the provincial and district Polio Control Rooms and issued directives to the officials to streamline the reporting mechanism.

“Provinces need to analyse data before sharing it with the Federal Control Room and authenticity needs to be maintained,” she said this while reviewing the performance indicators.  According to initial reports, overall the result of the vaccination campaign held recently against polio has been satisfactory and coverage remained 95 per cent but in the high-risk areas it was not up to the mark. The campaign quality in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), adjoining areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi, three reservoirs of Balochistan - Quetta, Killa Abdullah and Pashin - was unsatisfactory.  Besides, in North and South Waziristan, the campaign could not be held due to security concerns and ongoing military operation in North. Moreover, children in the heart of the capital participating in sit-ins could also not be vaccinated as vaccination teams could not be sent due to fear of any reaction from the protesters. Ayesha Raza Farooq also highlighted the importance of data management in analysing the performance of the campaign. While commenting on the low performing districts, the PM Focal Person stressed on sending a report back to the provinces, urging them to address all gaps and loopholes. She emphasised on better coordination and harmony between the operations of the federal and provincial polio control rooms.  Earlier, Expanded Programme on Immunisation Head Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar presented an overview of the Polo Campaign (September 29-October 1, 2014) performance results. Dr Rana Safdar highlighted that mostly refusals were reported from Bannu and Swabi districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

While presenting the operation of the Federal Polio Control Room, he emphasised on the fact that performance can only be improved through proper monitoring, supervision and reporting mechanism down at the UC level.

He highlighted that the high-risk UCs are constantly seen as a problem in the way of optimum coverage and stressed on improved campaign quality and supervision by giving special attention to the missed areas in high-risk UCs.

Pakistan has broken its own record of maximum polio cases with 206 cases so far surpassing the previous number of 199 cases recorded in 2000.

Four new polio cases surfaced Friday taking the number of those affected by the crippling disease this year to 206. Out of the 206 poliovirus cases confirmed in 2014, 136 have been reported from FATA, 42 from KP, 19 from Sindh, 6 from Balochistan and 3 from Punjab.