ISLAMABAD – The World Health Organisation (WHO) decided to halt only one method of the Post Campaign Monitoring (PCM) during a recently held campaign after much insistence by the Islamabad District Administration whereas all the other methods to do the assessment were fully in place.

Dr Elias Durry, Senior Coordinator for Polio Eradication at the WHO, shared with TheNation, “PCM was held all across the country, however only a single component called the cluster sampling of the PCM could not be held due to reservations of the Islamabad District Administration,” he said. He, however, added that cluster method was used in rest of the country.

Highlighting the important role of the PCM in eradicating polio from the world, Dr Elias Durry said the monitoring mechanism has three major components that were under practice all over the world to come up with the best strategies to counter the spread of the poliovirus. “Independent Monitoring, Market Survey and Lot Quality Assurance Samples (LQAS) are considered as the most modern and acceptable components of the PCM all over the world, the goal of the PCM is to indicate towards missed areas and children during a polio round,” he stated.

According to information in all the three methods of monitoring, samples are taken randomly and in the cluster method the independent teams go to every seventh house of the area to check whether the children were vaccinated or not.

Dr Elias Durry maintained all the three components of the PCM were important to the Polio Emergency Plan that relies heavily on inputs from the PCM to ascertain whether or not a district is performing in accordance with guidelines of the emergency Plan.

“It will not be exaggerating to state that the recent success of the polio eradiation programme where Pakistan has reported 16 cases till date as compared to 38 last year is because of correct PCM methodologies” he remarked.

Another official of WHO requesting not to be named opined that these three methods are used in other countries all over the world and no country objected to the methods and only Islamabad has problems with the monitoring methods as the past results of PCM indicated that the Federal Capital was continuously recording sub-optimal levels of polio campaign and this has put them under pressure in front of the high ups. Any district recording less than 95 percent coverage as per PCM is considered as sub-optimal.

Rejecting the media reports of fake monitoring data the WHO officials said the methods are rationally designed and internationally recognized.  The WHO also released the PCM data about the recently held polio campaign putting the claims of media reports to rest that the monitoring has been suspended all over the country. 

According to the details of the PCM report, the Capital Development Authority Islamabad recorded 91 percent coverage whereas the rural Islamabad (ICT) ended up recording 98 percent coverage. Both the results were formulated using the globally famous Market Survey and Lot Quality Assurance Samples for conducting the PCM.    

The PCM report reveals that Punjab has by far remained as the best province during the last campaign with only Faisalabad evaluated as sub-optimal throughout the province.

A huge number of 64 percent kids across FATA could not be reached with the oral polio vaccine. “FR Kohat was evaluated by the PCM as covering the highest number of children where 82 percent coverage was recorded”.

Khyber Agency however, remains the most troublesome area for the vaccinators where only 21 percent coverage could be attained as per the PCM report. In KP Province, Hangu remained the most poorly covered district, which ended up recording 79 per cent coverage whereas Nowshera and Peshawar remained the best with 97 per cent and 99 per cent respectively. 

On Sindh, the PCM report points out towards Kemari Town in Karachi that has recorded 89 percent coverage whereas Shah Faisal Town has achieved a stunning 100 percent coverage. The PCM reports of Gadap Town are above 95 per cent and it recorded more than 96 per cent coverage during the last campaign.

In Balochistan, the worst district was Khuzdar where 72 per cent kids were covered, whereas Mastung remained the best district with 95 per cent coverage.