LAHORE - Punjab will hold the National Immunisation Day (NID) from September 26 to 28 and special emphasis is being laid on Rawalpindi and Lahore because of positive environmental samples in August.

Emergency Operation Coordinator Dr Munir Ahmed said this during a media briefing in the Directorate General Health Services here on Thursday. EOC Coordinator, WHO, Unicef and EPI team attended the briefing.

He said the campaign would target approximately 18.4 million children of below five years of age across the province. “Punjab is holding fourth NID this year in September: The first three were in January, March and May. Punjab has had a total of six positive environmental samples this year: Two in Rawalpindi (April and August), two in Faisalabad (February and July), One in Lahore (August) and one in Dera Ghazi Khan (May),” Dr Munir, who is also Director EPI, added.

He said in independent assessment conducted to measure quality of campaigns (LQAS), Punjab has seen at least 85% or more passed results. “The world has never been in a better position to eradicate polio. Pakistan is the key to global eradication, and we now have an opportunity to stop polio once and for all,” he added. Permanent Transit Points have been set up at Inter provincial borders to vaccinate children from other provinces.  He said Punjab has had no polio case so far 2016. Pakistan has had 14 polio cases so far – KPK has 7, Sindh 5, Balochistan 1 and FATA 1.”

Highlighting response to diphtheria outbreak in Kasur, he informed that a mop up in Kasur is being conducted and so far around 16000 children have been vaccinated in the district. The DHQ Hospital has been declared as Sentinel site and there is no shortage of Vaccine or Anti Diphtheria Serum in the province.

“Standard preventive measures like antibiotic provision, vaccination, active surveillance and case detection as per SOPs are being followed,” he added. He also said a total of 12 deaths have been reported so far in the year 2016 with 9 deaths between 6 to 11 years age group and 3 in below 6 category. He said as per National Immunization Technical Advisory Group recommendation, preparations for booster doses are being made for children of above 5 age group.

“Punjab is on track to claim Maternal & Neonatal Tetanus elimination, WHO mission will visit DG Khan & Okara for validation in Oct, 2016. Further, Rota Virus vaccine will be introduced in Lahore, Kasur, Khushab, M Bahuddin, Multan & Muzaffar Garh in Nov 2016 & rest of province by Jan 2017,” he added.