Pakistan one of two polio-endemic countries in world: Murad

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Pakistan has reported 20 cases of Polio since April 2022 and all belong to South Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while positive environmental samples have also been reported from all provinces, but it is a great achievement for Sindh that no Polio case has been reported over the last 30 months.

It was disclosed to the Chief Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah in a meeting with a delegation of the Polio Oversight Board (POB) led by its chairman Dr. Christopher Elias.

The CM inaugurated the Anti-Polio campaign, starting from November 28 to December 4, 2022, in eight  `Very High-Risk Districts’, including seven districts of Karachi and Hyderabad District by administering polio drops to children here at CM House on Monday.

During a week-long campaign more than 2,771,089 children, under 5, would be vaccinated, the health minister Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, while briefing the meeting said. More than 27,000 polio workers have been deployed for the campaign.

According to the health minister, around 2,943 male and 113 female security personnel have been deployed.  An additional 26 senior field staff from other divisions of Sindh were deployed for monitoring and supportive supervision in very high-risk and poor-performing UCs.

The CM said that Pakistan is one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan has reported 20 cases of Polio since April 2022, and all the cases belonged to South KP while positive environmental samples have also been reported from all provinces.

Mr. Shah said that it was a great achievement of his government that no Polio case has been reported over the last 30 months. “The last Polio case was reported on 14th July from Jacobabad while in Karachi on 09th June 2020 from Landhi, District Malir.

Murad Ali Shah said that after the first case reported (April 2022) from North Waziristan, the EOC Sindh increased vigilance over the entry and exit points at the provincial borders and vaccinated 128,0495 children out of 30,937 belonging to South KP District.

“If we continue with the same momentum, we will further see significant results, but we must not get complacent and continue the hard work,” the CM said and added children could be saved from childhood diseases like polio through vaccination and we seek every stakeholder’s help to raise awareness for the cause.

Mr. Shah said that efforts in the programme have resulted in more than a 60 percent reduction in refusals and missed children, but we must bring them down further, especially in Karachi.

The POB delegation appreciated the efforts of the Sindh government in eradicating polio.

President POB Dr. Christopher Elias said that polio has no cure but can be easily prevented through two polio drops.

At the conclusion of the programme, the CM urged parents to cooperate with the polio teams reaching their doorsteps for vaccination and help save Pakistan’s future by eradicating polio.

The POB delegation consisted of WHO RD Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, Deputy Director Endemics Mr. Michael Galway, Global Polio Director Dr. Hamid Jafari, Global Polio Director WHO Dr. Palitha Mahipala, Mr. Steven Lauwerier of UNICEF, Aziz Memon of Rotary International.

The CM was assisted by Minister Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, PSCM Fayaz Jatoi, Special Secretary Health Nawaz Sohoo, Coordinator EOC, Sindh Fayyaz Abbasi.