KARACHI - An anti-polio campaign in the city will begin today (Monday).

Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani, who is also head of the taskforce formed by the Sindh government on polio eradication, will inaugurate the campaign.

The campaign will continue for seven days and culminate on June 23 after covering 105 union councils in the city. During the campaign 7,000 polio teams would perform duty and more than 1.5 million children would be administered anti-polio drops.

Chairing the meeting of the taskforce on Monday, the commissioner reviewed the arrangements made for execution of the campaign. The meeting discussed in detail the micro plan made in this regard and the commissioner was told that comprehensive arrangements for the campaign had been finalised.

The meeting was attended among others by the additional commissioner of Karachi-1, Sindh Coordinator of the Emergency Operation Centre, Polio Eradication Campaign Sindh, all deputy commissioners, senior officials from police and Pakistan Rangers, all district and town health officers, representatives of international partners like WHO, UNICEF, Bill and Gates Foundation and Rotary Club.

At the briefing about the current situation regarding polio cases, the committee was told that in 2019 Pakistan has reported 23 cases of polio so far -- three cases in Sindh and two of them in Karachi (Lyari and Gulshan-e-Iqbal).

The meeting was told that the target population for this campaign is 1.5 million children under five years of age in 105 union councils of Karachi. All draining and high risk will be covered during the campaign. As many as 7,660 teams, 1,814 area supervisors and UCMOs will be deployed to vaccinate children. As many as 3,266 policemen will safeguard the polio teams and Rangers will also patrol different areas of the city.

The commissioner was informed at the meeting that efforts were being made with greater attention to elimination of the virus by administering polio drops to children up to five years of age. He asked the deputy commissioners to ensure the vaccination campaign is implemented according to the micro plan and in close coordination with all officials and community leaders.

Shallwani said the strategy should focus on stopping spread of the polio virus. The meeting was told that efforts were being made to save children from this deadly virus.