KARACHI - At least 19 patients of dengue fever were reported in Sindh, out of which 17 were from Karachi and one each from Hyderabad and Shaheed Benazirabad last week. So far, 219 dengue patients have been reported in Sindh this year.

This was informed in a meeting, chaired by Sindh Health Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar in the Sindh Assembly building office. Programme Manager Dengue Control Programme Dr Masood Solangi also attended the meeting.

The health minister said that all stakeholders should be taken on board to control dengue because health department could not do the job alone. “Unless we all gather on one platform we wouldn't be able to achieve our desired goal.”

Masood Solangi told the meeting that he was in close liaison with other stakeholders and a massive awareness drive was launched last year over dengue and awareness seminars and walks would also hold this year as well. Jam Mehtab directed the programme manager to prepare a comprehensive plan this regard.

MORE EFFORTS URGED

TO ERADICATE POLIO

Focal Person, Expended Programme of Immunisation (EPI) Sindh, Dr Raaj Kumar said that polio cases have decreased by 99 percent across the world but efforts will continue till its complete eradication from remaining countries.

This he said at a media sensitisation session organised on the topic of “IPV in routine immunisation and child healthcare in Pakistan” by Mediations in support with UNICEF and Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) here in a local hotel.

Speakers included Dr Amjad Ansari from UNICEF, Executive Director Mediations Pakistan Wajeeh Akhtar and Secretary Karachi Press Club AH Khanzada. Senior journalists Halima Mansoor and Hasan Mansoor also shared their experiences.

Dr Raj Kumar told that the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) is a disease prevention program aiming at reducing illness, disability and mortality from childhood diseases preventable by immunisation. These diseases are referred as 9 EPI target diseases and cause millions of ailments, disabilities and deaths each year. He said polio was endemic across the world and more than 350,000 cases reports every year when Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched in 1988 but with global efforts to vaccinate children in health centres and through campaigns, the polio cases had been decreased by 99 per cent across the globe.

He informed that last year Government of Pakistan has introduced Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in the schedule of Routine Immunisation Programme. The IPV, in injection form, is administered at the age of 14 weeks to all eligible children.

While polio drops (OPV) is also administered to all eligible children during each polio campaign and according to the routine immunisation schedule, he said.

He said polio is a highly infectious disease that is caused when the polio virus invades the nervous system of an infected person. He said there are three types of polio virus type 1, type 2 and type 3. He said there has been no case of type 2 wild poliovirus reported since 1999.

Senior journalist AH Khanzada said if one child is affected from polio virus in the country then the whole society remains disturbed from this incident. He said government must ensure foolproof security of vaccinator. He urged the EPI management to expel the black sheep like Shakeel Afridi from programme to gain public trust again. He said media prime responsibility is to highlight the issue but other state institutions and general public are not discharging responsibilities honestly.

He appealed the government to avoid unnecessary harassment and arrest of refusals families during polio drives.

Executive Director Mediations Pakistan Wajeeh Akhtar said that giving the significance of the IPV introduction in the EPI programme, such session are being organised to sensitise and engage health reporters across Pakistan to help understand immunisation programme and need of introduction of IPV in addition to polio drops and importance of combination of OPV and IPV. Speakers stressed the need to educate parents keeping in view local customs through mass media and other direct engagement activities. Pakistan is on track now and is near to eradication of polio virus from the country.