ISLAMABAD - As the sit-ins have paralysed life in the Capital for the last week due to blockades at different points, the prospective international travelers have also been left in the lurch as many could not reach hospitals for polio vaccination certificates.

The residents of twin cities continue to face inconvenience and disruption in their daily routine due to the anti-government sit-ins of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).

As public transport remains off the roads on different routes of Islamabad and Rawalpindi even before the arrival of the marchers creating lots of problems for the residents, many could not reach hospitals for treatment and get polio vaccination certificates.

The hospital staff also could not reach the hospitals on time to perform their duties that also caused problem for the patients. Due to the current situation, the load of patients in OPDs is very low and scheduled surgeries are not being carried out, according to hospitals officials.

“Due to inaccessibility issues, many prospective travelers have not reached hospitals to get vaccination cards. The patients load has also been reduced a lot. Earlier, the hospital used to issue around 300 cards daily but now only 60 to 70 cards are issued' said Dr Khurram of Polyclinic Hospital.

“As the hospital is situated in the vicinity of red zone, roads leading to it have been blocked. And patients from its catchment areas like Bari Imam, Bara Kahu, Chak Shahzad, Abpara have not been able to reach the hospital,” he added.

Likewise in normal routine, nearly 300 prospective travelers used to visit Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) for vaccination cards but the number has reduced to around 250 approximately, said Pims spokesperson Dr Waseem Khawaja.

He said that the number of patients visiting OPDs of the hospitals had also reduced due to blockades at different points and lack of public transport facility. Usually 4000 to 6000 patients visit the OPDs daily for treatment but owing to the current situation their numbers have reduced to a few hundred only, he further said.

“The current situation has ruined my plans and I am stuck at home,” Ayaz, a resident of Chak Shahzad, complained. He said that he could not avail the vaccination certificate from hospital and the airport staff also refused to issue certificates on the spot. “I have extended my plan of leaving the country till the situation gets back to normality,” he added.

Pakistan was slapped with polio restrictions on May 5 this year for failing to control polio virus making it mandatory for international travelers to produce polio vaccination cards before leave the country to prevent international spread of the virus. 

However, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination spokesperson maintained that the ministry did not receive any complaint regarding the issue so far. He was of the view that 'the demand for vaccination cards have been reduced as most of the people have availed the cards that are valid for a year at least so they don't need to get it every time they travel'.