MIRPUR - A total of 68,025 children under five years of age will be administered anti-polio vaccine during the 5-day campaign in Mirpur district to be launched across AJK from Monday.

The campaign would be commenced across AJK by the AJK Health Department with the collaboration of the World Health Organization (WHO), Mirpur District Health Officer (DHO), Dr Fida Hussain said while unveiling the schedule of immunisation campaign against polio in the district. 

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Raja Tahir Mumtaz Khan and Director (Retd) AJK Health Services Dr Muhammad Iqbal inaugurated the campaign by administrating anti-polio-vaccine and vitamin ‘A’ drops to the children under 05 years of age at the DHO office.

The ceremony was attended among others by representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in AJK Lady Dr Mariya Zulfiqar, Additional DHO Dr Iram Batool, FMO Dr Fatima Yaqoob, District Coordinator National Program Dr Farhat Zaffar and other officials of the State Health Department. Talking to media on this occasion, Dr Fida revealed that no case of polio disease had emerged anywhere in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) for last ten years. 

He said that Mirpur district was comprised the total population of 438,319 persons which included over 68 thousand children of under five years of age. 

No case of polio disease has emerged anywhere in AJK for last ten years

“The district has been divided into four zones with the induction of the one supervisor in each zone to implement the drive”, he said adding that one Ward Incharge would supervise the campaign in the determined area falling in each Union Council in the district.  A total of 55 Union Councils / Ward Incharges will look after the campaign in all 55 union councils in the district. 

Elaborating the district-wise anti-polio drive, Dr Fida Hussain further said that a total of 228 mobile teams of paramedical staff involving over 400 para-medical workers had been constituted and 33 fixed centres had been set up in the district to immunise the children with the anti-polio vaccine. 

The mobile teams, he said, would visit door to door by strictly acting upon the already devised SOPs in view of the still prevailing but controlled COVID-19 in the state, to administer anti-polio drops to children under five years of age. 

Dr Fida underlined that in view of the novel coronavirus apprehensions, the transit points had not been set up this time of the anti-polio drive in AJK including Mirpur district. “Only the mobile teams will visit door to door to feed the children with the anti-polio vaccine during the campaign. At least four thousand vials of the anti-polio vaccine and vitamin ‘A’ drops have been managed for the vaccination during the campaign, he added. 

He said that Catch up teams would remain alert to administer the polio drops on the fourth and fifth days even after the conclusion of the 5-day drive across the district.

He strongly suggested that there was earnest need of accountability and commitment to this global cause for achieving the target for complete eradication of the fatal disease.

The DHO advised the parents to cooperate the visiting mobile paramedic teams to make the national anti-polio campaign complete success. 

Meanwhile identical arrangements have also been made in Kotli and Bhimbher districts of Mirpur division for the immunization of children up to five years of age with the anti-polio vaccine during the drive. 

It may be recalled that the process of the frequent nationwide anti-polio campaign across the country including AJK was formally launched first in 1994 where at least 1800 cases of polio were detected and as a result of the continued successful campaign against this disease, these polio cases were reduced to 27 in the year of 2005.

“Although no any polio case has been detected in AJK since 2000, yet it was earnest need of accountability and commitment to this cause for achieving the target to discourage the appearing of this fatal disease”, renowned physician and experts of family medicines Dr Khalid Yousaf said.