KARACHI - Sindh government has started anti-polio and measles drive in 29 districts of Sindh from Monday under the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) to make the children, between 6 months to 10 years of age, immunised against the fatal disease.

The 12-day long special immunisation campaign is being launched in collaboration with the Gavi-World Health Organisation with a total joint investment of Rs1,050 million.

Apart from some areas, where extremists exist, all parts of the metropolis were visited by the health workers to administer vaccines to children.

According to the health officials, during the campaign (from May 19-31) as many as 13,269,690 children will be vaccinated.

Anti-polio drops would be administered to the children aged up to five years. The measles vaccinations will be given to the children from 6 months to 10 years of age. The campaign was inaugurated by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah. It is pertinent to mention here that as many as 133 confirmed cases of measles have been reported in Sindh this year so far with 14 deaths which include 13 deaths only in district Thatta.

It is pertinent to mention here that Sindh Health Minister Dr Saghir Ahmed has already mentioned that measles have devoured as many as 14 lives in Sindh while 13 deaths belonged to only Thatta district. During the ongoing year, 133 confirmed cases have been reported in Sindh. Last year, the death toll of measles was 14 in the province.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah inaugurated the 13-day long Special Immunisation Campaign against measles in Sindh by injecting anti-measles vaccine to a child at the CM House, Karachi on Monday. Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed was also present on the occasion. He also administered the anti-measles vaccine to a child.

Sindh health secretary Iqbal Durrani said out of this amount, Rs800 million is being spent on the purchase of vaccines while Rs250 million would be incurred on its operational activities throughout the province. He said the social mobilisers had been assigned to conduct house-to-house visits, mobilise the children of targeted age group and bring them to the nearest hospitals or vaccination site for the purpose.

Talking on the occasion, the chief minister said the PPP government was giving top priority to the health services to the ailing people and has earmarked Rs17 billion in the current budget for the purpose.

“Though we are investing huge funds to cure the patients but more awareness for the cure of diseases is needed. Care is better than cure and the government and private organisations should concentrate on this issue.”

Qaim said measles, polio, hepatitis B and C and other fatal diseases were the challenges to the individuals and organisations concerned and these could be combated with success only with the joint efforts of the government and community.

He stressed upon the print and electronic media to sensitise people about this issue through their news and views for maximum vaccination of the children. He also stressed upon the political and social workers to get the children of their areas vaccinated from this fatal disease.

Qaim also stressed upon the people to avail the opportunity of EPI available at each hospital and get their children vaccinated from all diseases.