PESHAWAR -  As many as 5.71 million children below the age of five years will be given oral polio vaccine in the three-day anti-polio drive starting today (Monday) whereas children in the age group of six to 59 weeks will be given vitamin A drops to boost their immunity.

This was disclosed in a meeting of the Emergency Operations Centre Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa aimed at reviewing the readiness status for the anti-polio drive starting from November 20 in all districts of the province.

Coordinator EOC KP Atif Rehman presided over the meeting while Director EPI Dr Akram Shah, Technical Focal Person Dr Imtiaz Ali Shah, UNICEF Team Leader Dr Joahar, Team Leader WHO Dr Abdi and other relevant staff members were also present on the occasion.

The meeting was informed that a total of 5.7122 million children would be administered anti-polio vaccines in the campaign whereas six weeks to 59 weeks old children would be administered Vitamin A drops as well. The campaign will also be carried out in Afghan camps. All the micro-plans have been updated and teams have been trained to vaccinate the target children and security plan has been made to ensure safe and conducive environment to the teams, the meeting was informed.

A total of 18,428 teams have been constituted for the campaign, including 15,719 mobile teams, 1,545 fixed, 930 transit teams while 235 roaming teams and 4,088 area in-charges would monitor the teams, the meeting was further informed.

Speaking on the occasion, the EOC coordinator said that it was the second drive of low-transmission season and was of great importance as low-transmission season was the best opportunity to stop virus transmission and wipe out the menace for good.

He reiterated the strong resolve of the government for polio eradication, saying that no complacency or negligence would be tolerated in achieving this national goal.

Atif Rehman asked the parents to fulfil their national and religious obligation by getting their children vaccinated against polio and other vaccines preventing diseases and ensuring healthy future to the children. He also thanked Secretary Health Abid Majeed, Department of Health KP and partner organisations for strong support and guidance that helped achieve phenomenal successes in the fight against polio.

It is pertinent to mention here that the country has recorded five polio cases so far in 2017 out of which one case each was recorded from KP, Punjab, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Karachi.

Meanwhile, state-run APP news agency reported that a three-day anti-polio vaccination campaign will start in Federally-Administered Tribal Areas from Monday in which a total of 1,040,396 children below the age of five years will be vaccinated. As many as 4,384 teams comprising 3,990 mobile teams, 293 fixed teams and 101 transit teams have been constituted in this regard, said a press release issued on Sunday.

During the campaign, polio vaccination teams will be administering vitamin A to a total of 936,356 children from the age of six months to five years across Fata to address the deficiency of vitamin A among children.

Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) Coordinator Fata Zubair Khan advised the polio teams to “ensure vaccination of all under five years of age children with focus on persistently missed and children on the move during anti polio campaign”. He said, “Effective collaboration for improvement in quality of campaigns, robust oversight of campaign monitoring and accountability are vital to keep zero polio case status of Fata”.

The EOC Fata coordinator further said, “We should concentrate on polio high-risk areas and ensure reaching children in every nook and corner of Fata”. While appreciating efforts of polio field workers, Zubair Khan said, “Dedication and commitment of polio field teams have brought us thus far and I am sure their tenacity will lead us to ultimately polio eradication in Fata.”

Fata is the only region which has achieved 2016-2017 National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) target of 95 per cent in at least three anti-polio campaigns (coverage for February, April and May 2017 was 96 per cent, 95 per cent and 97 per cent, respectively). Last polio case in Fata was reported on July 27, 2016.  So far in 2017, not a single case has been reported.