LAHORE: Punjab will hold a polio campaign as part of Sub National Immunization Day (SNID) in seven districts of the province from 7th to 9th of October, Director General Health Services Punjab Dr. Zahid Pervaiz announced today. The campaign will be conducted in the following high risk seven districts: Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan.

 Punjab is still completing the 14-day catch up activity of September’s National Immunization Day and in a bid to boost the polio eradication efforts, the SNID will be conducted in the said districts of the province. “Even though we did not have a polio case since December 2014, Punjab faces a challenge of viral transmission from reservoir areas of other provinces through inter provincial movement of migrant population,” said DG Health.  Punjab’s Director of Expanded Programme on Immunization Dr. Munir Ahmed said: “Over the past six months, we have had a few positive environmental samples in Lahore and Multan. Campaigns in selected Union Councils were already conducted in these districts. In our bid to ensure that the province remains polio free, seven districts featuring high on various risk factors have been selected for the campaign,” said Dr. Munir Ahmed. He said that districts sharing borders as well as strategic routes with other provinces i.e. Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan will be under special focus and instructions have been passed to the teams to ensure top notch performance. Special Transit Points have been set up on bordering districts with other provinces where children are immunized on entry points.

“Punjab already held Polio NID in September and the catch up activity has just to include, ”Dr. Munir further said. “In light of the lessons learnt from September NID we have asked districts to remove shortcomings in their micro-plans. A detailed progress review on campaign preparations will be undertaken with the districts,” he said. Director EPI further said that Pakistan has been in global spotlight for polio and efforts are being to make the country polio free. He said with commitment from the highest political leadership, the province has seen a steep increase in routine immunization coverage, reaching 70 per cent. Director EPI further said progress of districts will not be gauged with their reported coverage but with the number of Not Available and Zero Dose children. He urged the EDOs to ensure the follow missed areas along with proper evening meetings of teams. He said seeing Punjab achieving a zero polio year is a dream of Health Department. Punjab accounted for four cases from a total of 306 cases in 2014. In the year 2015 Punjab has been polio free so far. The province faces a major challenge of migrant population from other provinces.