Year’s last anti-polio drive launched in city

The last anti-polio campaign of current year was launched in two phases in Karachi on Tuesday.

In first phase, the drive will be carried out in Malir, East and West districts while the second phase will be initiated on December 13 in Korangi, South and North districts.

The teams will administer polio drops to children below age five. The local administration has also ensured foolproof security of the workers in this regard. Health teams in Pakistan have been attacked repeatedly since the Taliban denounced vaccines as a Western plot to sterilise Muslims and imposed bans on inoculation in June 2012.

There is evidence in tests conducted on sewage samples in some of the country s major cities that the polio virus is starting to spread beyond these isolated pockets and could soon spark fresh polio outbreaks in more densely populated areas.

The virus has been cornered to just a handful of areas in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan – the three countries where polio is endemic. Global cases have dropped by more than 99.9 percent in less than three decades from 3,50,000 in 1985 to just 223 last year, according to the GPEI.

The World Health Organisation says as long as any child remains infected, children everywhere are at risk.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ghulam Haider Jamali on Tuesday directed the officials concerned to divide East, West and South Zones in sectors and sub-sectors for ensuring foolproof security for the polio eradication teams.

According to police report, at least 4,325 police commandos, and constables will be deployed for security of polio workers from SSU, SRP, CTD, Crime Branch, Anti Encroachment Cell, Police Training School Razzaqabad, Police Training College Saeedabad, RTC Hyderabad, RTC Jam Nawaz, and PTC Shahdadpur along with local police.