Anti-polio drive to start in Balochistan today


4969 teams will administer drops

A seven-day anti-polio drive will start in 18 districts of Balochistan today Monday during which 1.26 million children below the age of five will be vaccinated. In a statement here on Sunday, Coordinator of the Balochistan Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Sayed Zahid Shah said, “A seven-day anti-polio campaign will start in 593 union councils in 18 districts of Balochistan.”

EOC Coordinator said all arrangements have been finalized to launch the drive in the high-risk areas of the province. “Around 4969 teams will be deployed who will administer polio drops to the children below the age of five,” he said, adding that the polio campaign would start in Pishin, Killa Abdullah, Chaman, Barkhan, Mastung, Chagai, Dera Bugti, Dukki, Killa Saifullah, Loralai, Nushki, Hub, Jaffarabad, Nasirabad, Sherani Sohbatpur, Musa Kahel and Zhob districts.

He said that Balochistan was polio-free for the last two years. He said that since January 2021, no polio case was reported in the province (the last case was reported on Jan 27, 2021, from district Killa Abdullah) and since April 2021, no polio virus was found in the environmental samples in Balochistan. “The efforts and dedication of our front-line workers are admirable, yet we have to strive more to stop the virus circulation and save our children,” the EOC Coordinator added.

However, he feared that the presence of poliovirus in other areas of the country and in Afghanistan was a huge challenge for the province of Balochistan. He called upon the parents to cooperate with the polio workers during the polio prevention campaign. “Due to the unflinching support from all segments of the society, the spread of poliovirus has effectively been controlled,”the EOC Coordinator assured.

“We have adopted strict security to prevent any unforeseen situation, Balochistan Levies force, Police and Frontier Corps (FC) would be deployed to protect the polio workers,” he said and added that religious scholars were also taking part to persuade parents who normally refuse to administer the polio drops. As Routine Immunization (RI) was an important pillar of polio eradication initiatives, “we are trying to provide adequate resources not only for vaccination against childhood vaccine-preventable diseases” but also working for expansion of RI service delivery in remote areas to boost overages, he informed.