PESHAWAR: The government has decided to resume vaccination drives against polio in the province after a suspension of four months whereas a small scale campaign has been planned in South Waziristan from July 20 in this regard while strictly adhering to Ministry of Health approved standard operating procedures (SOPs).
This was disclosed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister of Health Taimur Saleem Jhagra in a press conference held here at Peshawar Press Club on Saturday.
EOC Coordinator Abdul Basit, WHO Team Lead Dr Gedi, UNICEF Team Lead Dr Andrew, N STOP Team Lead Dr Ijaz Ali Shah, EOC Technical Focal Person Dr Imtiaz Ali Shah and other relevant officials of EOC and health department were present on the occasion.
Expanding on his thoughts, Jhagra said that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of life, including immunisation programmes as the immediate responses to the pandemic included halting immunisation campaigns that resulted in declined protection levels of children against preventable diseases.
He said that isolation of polio virus from environmental surveillance sites and detection in humans indicate widespread and persistent circulation of poliovirus in KP, adding that the province has reported 63 out of the total 108 cases in the country.
Taimur Jhagra said that the government has decided to resume polio vaccination campaigns in the country after detailed analysis that proves that the risk of spread of coronavirus through polio vaccination campaign is very low.
“The schedule and scope of next campaign will be decided in consultation with the federal government,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, EOC Coordinator Abdul Basit said that the three day campaign will start from July 20 in all 78 UCs of South Waziristan during which over 78,000 children under the age of five will be vaccinated.
He said that a total of 609 teams will visit over 48,000 houses in the district while 250 supervisors and monitors will be deployed to ensure a quality campaign.
“We have introduced necessary adjustments in operational strategies with the objective to further minimise the risk of coronavirus, said Basit, adding that teams will be provided with mask and hand sanitizers.
Moreover, he added that the teams have been advised to avoid touching the child during vaccination, rather the parent or caregiver shall hold the child.
He said that a thermal gun will also be provided to every supervisor to check temperature of teams in morning before they leave for vaccination. They will also assess the teams for any symptoms (flue, abdominal discomfort, sore throat) before sending team to field.