KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah while expressing apprehension over increasing number of polio virus in Karachi has established a separate police force headed by SSP rank officer with 700 police personnel to ensure foolproof security to the polio teams during the four months of low transmission period of polio virus started from current month.
He directed the IGP Sindh to arrange 50 percent personnel of this force each from Karachi and interior Sindh with weapons and vehicles.
He directed Secretary Health and Commissioner Karachi to launch crash program for anti polio campaign in eleven most-affected union councils of Karachi after Aashura and also to include Pashtoon females in the polio teams to make it more successful.
This he stated while presiding over the meeting to review the anti-polio campaign in the province here on Saturday.
The Chief Minister said that despite efforts to eliminate the menace of polio, as many as 23 polio cases, 21 from Karachi and one each from Dadu and Sanghar had been reported. Which according to him was bad for the government and people as well.
He said that out of these 23 polio cases, 21 cases pertain to Pashto speaking families. He said that actually, the polio cases were being injected into Sindh province through migration of unvaccinated IDPs from FATA.
Responding to security excuses of the anti-polio organizations the Chief Minister directed IGP to establish a separate force of 700 police personnel 50% from Karachi and remaining 50% from interior Sindh under the supervision of SSP rank police officer to provide fool proof security to the polio teams permanently, especially during four months of low transmission period of polio virus in Karachi.
The Chief Minister also stressed the need for proper monitoring of anti polio campaigns and directed for establishing a separate monitoring cell in the supervision of Additional Secretary Health to monitor the activities, identify the weakness and report to him time to time so that the complete elimination of polio could be ensured.
He also warned the government officials engaged in anti polio drive to perform with full dedication and spirit failing which strict action would be taken against them.
The Coordinator Polio Shahnaz Wazir Ali while speaking in the meeting said that at present 235 polio cases have been reported from all parts of Pakistan out of which the big number of 151 cases pertains to FATA and 48 KPK only, similarly out of 23 cases reported in Sindh, 21 pertains of Pashtoon families. She said these Pakhtoon families residing in specific eleven UCs of Karachi, where anti polio teams are not only experiencing refusal cases but also facing security threats. Permanent security force is needed for 100% coverage in these areas, she added.
The provincial coordinator for polio also pointed out financial problems as according to her the expenditure made by anti polio organizations have not been reimbursed by federal government allegedly.
She further informed the meeting that she and her other associates have already negotiated with the elders of Pashto speaking families of these most vulnerable identified UCs for their help and participation in anti polio campaign.
She said that we are now including the Pashtoon females in the polio teams to cover their residential areas.
The Chief Secretary Sindh Sajjad Saleem Hotiyana, Secretary Health Iqbal Durani, Dr. Salah from WHO, Aziz Memon from Rotary Karachi,Mrs Huma from UNICEF also participated in the discussion.