Islamabad-Despite no reported case of polio in the twin cities for over two years, environmental samples taken from the sewage of both cities have tested positive for the polio virus, said the focal person on polio eradication on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Focal Person on Polio Eradication Programme Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said this during a visit to different localities in the federal capital. The focal person was also accompanied by National Coordinator for Emergency Operation Centre Dr Rana Safdar, health ministry, ICT and CDA officials.

“Though there has been no case reported in the twin cities for over two years, the virus has been found in environmental samples of both Islamabad and Rawalpindi drainage, raising concerns among the residents,” she said.

Ayesha Farooq said that she would personally be monitoring the polio drive in the capital city as it was a critical issue.

She also took notice of gaps in the provision of routine immunization against nine deadly diseases in certain areas and issued directives that every child was essentially immunized.

“Pakistan has recorded a historic low number of polio cases in 2017 and we don’t want to lose this momentum to defeat the crippling virus by being vigilant, proactive and persistent,” she said.

Prime Minister of Pakistan has constituted a special task force to specifically monitor the drive in twin cities and report back to him on a daily basis to ensure maximum coverage during all upcoming campaigns.

The senator visited slums on the outskirts of the city to personally monitor the immunization campaign on the second day of the five-day nationwide drive. She also visited homes, interacted with parents and community elders in Pakistan Town, H 9, Koral and other areas.

Ayesha Farooq directed that each house including shanties, nomads and travelling families with under five children should be given polio drops and each household was covered and marked accordingly.

Over 250,000 frontline workers (Sehat Muhafiz) and health staffs are giving polio drops to over 37.7 million children under five years across the country including FATA, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and AJK. In Islamabad, around 0.312 million children will be covered during the current campaign for which 1346 teams have been formed, and of them, 73 teams have been set up at various transit points.