Karachi Commissioner urged private schools to cooperate in vaccinating

Karachi:April 10:Karachi Commissioner Aijaz Ahmed Khan urged private schools to cooperate with the administration in vaccinating children against polio as he kicked off the fourth polio vaccination drive of the year on Monday in the city.

Officials intend to vaccinate as many as 38.71 million children under the age of five across the country, including 2.4 million in Karachi, which being a core reservoir area will see a five-day drive and an additional two-day catch-up drive.

Inaugurating the National Immunization Days (NIDs) by administering polio drops at a dispensary in Muslimabad, Commissioner Khan urged parents to get polio drops as well as Vitamin-A drops – which will also be included in the drive – administered to their children.

He also urged private schools to cooperate with vaccinators when they visit schools. Senior Director Health of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Dr Birbal Genani also inaugurated the drive at Sobhraj Hospital near Burns Road and said healthcare facilities and the staff of KMC would take an active part in the campaign.

Dr Genani said polio vaccine was the safest vaccine in the world; even if its cold chain is not maintained, the vaccine is not harmful for children, he said. However, he added that all steps should be taken to ensure the cold chain remains intact.

Officials at the Sindh Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for Polio Eradication said more than 56,000 front-line workers were taking part in the campaign, including more than 12,000 vaccinators, health workers, their incharges and supervisors in Karachi alone.

Similarly, as many as 5,000 police personnel in addition to paramilitary Rangers and other agencies’ personnel are providing security cover in Karachi to the vaccination staff. In 2017, only eight cases were reported from the country, two of them from Karachi – a historical low for the country and the province. This year only one case has been reported from Pakistan, from Dukki, Balochistan.

Rana Safdar, the coordinator of the National EOC, said that they were in a good position to eradicate polio as the environment samples in most of the areas in the country, including Karachi, have tested negative for the presence of poliovirus because of repeated and intense immunisation campaigns.

“We have come a long way to achieve historically low cases but more work needs to be done and we must improve further,” he said. “The teams must continue their hard work and parents must come forward to vaccinate their children to save them from the scourge of polio.”
The current polio epidemiology in the country is best ever observed with case decline from 306 in 2014, 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and eight in 2017, he added.The news.