A province-wide comprehensive anti-polio campaign will be launched by the provincial government as Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has approved anti-polio drives every month during the current year.

The campaign will start from February 17 to administer anti-polio drops to 20 million children in the province.

Presiding over a meeting of the provincial task force for the eradication of polio at his office, the CM issued orders for paying special attention to high-risk districts. The health department, as well as the district administration, should ensure full implementation on the anti-polio plan and work hard to achieve the desired results, he added.

Active participation of the local community, including elected representatives, was equally important to achieve the anti-polio targets, the CM remarked. He said the surfacing of polio cases in some districts was alarming and emphasised that local administration would have to efficiently deal with such areas.

Polio drive aims to immunise 2.3m children across Karachi

The deputy commissioners (DC) should proactively work for the eradication of polio, he said.

He warned that no leniency would be tolerated and action would be taken in case of any negligence. “I will review anti-polio measures every month,” he said.

The chief minister also expressed displeasure that meetings about anti-polio measures were not being held regularly by certain deputy commissioners. He warned that such deputy commissioners would be held answerable. Administration of anti-polio drops to all children should be ensured during the campaign as it’s a national issue which required joint efforts, he said.

The Punjab primary and secondary healthcare secretary gave a briefing about polio cases, anti-polio measures and campaign targets.

Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid, Minister for Information and Culture Fayyazul Hasan Chohan, Minister for School Education Murad Raas, Member of Provincial Assembly Mussarat Jamshed Cheema, Chief Secretary Azam Suleman Khan, Lahore Division Commissioner Asif Bilal Lodhi, representatives of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, World Health Organisation and others attended the meeting. Commissioners, deputy commissioners and CEOs of district health authorities also attended the meeting through video conferencing.