Today, a nationwide polio vaccination campaign has begun across all provinces of Pakistan.
The vaccination campaign has resumed after more than four-month suspension caused due to the COVID-19. Authorities say that during this campaign over 40 million children below five years of age will be administered the anti-polio vaccine.
Unfortunately, Pakistan still hasn't eradicated this crippling and life-threatening disease. Pakistan and Afghanistan are only the two endemic countries where polio cases are still detected. This lethal disease is caused by poliovirus. This virus spreads from person to person and can infect a person's spinal cord, causing severe paralysis.
It's reported that the campaign seeks to vaccinate all children through door-to-door visits by almost 275,000 vaccinators all over the country. The polio workers have received comprehensive training from the health department on how to vaccinate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government has directed the local authorities that special care to be be taken in following the coronavirus-related SOPs. The field staff is to be provided with surgical masks, hand sanitizers, thermal guns, and other protective equipment (PPEs).
Polio cases have been increasing steadily this year in Pakistan, mostly due to the fact that the government had to shut down the polio campaign to contain the novel coronavirus. It took over four months to resume the campaign. So far 73 polio cases have been reported this year.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination Dr. Faisal Sultan tweeted regarding the resumption of the polio campaign in the country. He said:
Nationwide polio vaccination campaign starts today. Aiming to vaccinate 40 million children. A team of 275,000 persons will make this happen. A request to parents and caregivers to cooperate with the teams to work towards a polio-free Pakistan.
Earlier this month while chairing a high-level meeting at the National Emergency Operations Center for Polio Eradication in Islamabad, SAPM said that polio eradication is the top-most priority of the government as polio impacts the future generations.
He lauded the efforts of polio workers and health organizations striving to make Pakistan polio-free. He also assured full support to the polio eradication programme and expressed his concerns about the increasing cases of polio in the country.