Anti-polio drive in Pak targeting 12.6mn kids to begin today

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Islamabad, June 27 (IANS) A massive anti-polio campaign in Pakistan targeting 12.6 million children under the age of five, will begin on Monday as the country has reported 11 confirmed cases this year.

The second Sub-National Immunisation Days (SNIDs) campaign of the year 2022 will be held in all four provinces, covering 25 very high-risk districts across the country, The Express Tribune reported.

Over 100,000 healthworkers will be engaged in the vaccination drive.

National Coordinator of the Polio Eradication Programme, Shahzad Baig said the campaign’s “aim is to ensure timely and repeated vaccination of eligible children”.

“High-risk districts are our top priority, and we are keen to eliminate the poliovirus from the challenging areas while protecting the rest of the region as well,” he said.

Baig urged parents and caregivers to get their children vaccinated “instead of hiding them or refusing to take the necessary drops”.

“It is important to realise that the polio virus still exists in our surroundings and no child is safe until all children are truly vaccinated,” The Express Tribune quoted the top official as saying.

Pakistan reported its latest polio case last week, detected in an eight-month-old infant in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s North Waziristan district.

All the 11 cases detected this year were reported in North Waziristan, with eight of them in the district’s Mir Ali area.

In a new report on June 24, the World Health Organization said Pakistan was among the four countries reporting the wild poliovirus besides Afghanistan, Mozambique and Malawi.