KARACHI -  Amid tight security, Sindh Health Department has completed anti-polio vaccination drive in 19 Union Councils of metropolis under aegis of Expended Program on Immunisation (EPI), Sindh here on Sunday. 

Following Taliban and other banned outfits threats, the Sindh Police Department had provided fool proof security to more than 1600 health workers participating in anti-polio vaccination drive held in 19 Union Councils out of total 24 targeted UCs, where the Sindh government banned motorcycle-riding for eight hours.

A three-day NID anti-polio campaign would start from February 24 across Sindh to administer around 7.9 million children under the ages of five years.  

Talking to The Nation, Deputy Project Manager Expended Programme on Immunisation Sindh Dr Duray Naaz said that fortunately not a single incident was reported in the whole day. She said that higher officials of the health department, including Sindh Secretary Health, were present in fields on the day. She appreciated the role of the law enforcement agencies in making the anti-polio drive possible. She said that the campaign is being launched in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.

Three polio workers, including Akbari, Anita and Fahad Khalil were gunned down, while Salma and a passerby Asgher Shah were injured in this incident. The provincial government later re-launched phase-wise polio campaign in high-risk Union Councils (UC) of Karachi from 10th February, 2014, but the drive again halted over some security reasons.

Sources in the health department said that the ban on motorcycle-riding was imposed on the recommendation of law-enforcement agencies.

 According to World Health Organisation, “Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, 5 per cent to 10 per cent die when their breathing muscles become immobilised. There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life.”