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145,073 children vaccinated on second day of polio immunisation campaign

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RAWALPINDI: A total of 145,073 children were vaccinated on the second day of the polio immunisation drive in the district and a new list of refusals has been prepared, a meeting chaired by the deputy commissioner was informed on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by Additional Deputy Commissioner Headquarters Dr Satish and senior district health authority and police officials.

Rawalpindi Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq said the five-day polio immunisation campaign, which began on March 16, aims to vaccinate 400,000 children below the age of five against polio.

He said more than 100,000 children were vaccinated on the first day. The implementation of government-issued standard operating procedures should be ensured with a zero tolerance policy for refusal cases, he added.

Polio vaccination teams should also ensure a door-to-door marking and finger marking process to avoid fake finger marking, and prepare accurate data, he said.

Accuracy will be achieved when teams work with dedication and in the greater interest of the nation, Mr Haq said. He said the monitoring of teams has begun and their work will be monitored every day. The poliovirus has been eradicated in other parts of the world and the government is committed to doing the same in Pakistan as soon as possible.

He added that although World Health Organisation (WHO) teams monitor the campaign, the provincial government has decided to carry out third party evaluation of the drive to ensure every child below five is vaccinated.

Health dept told to issue advisory

The Punjab government has directed the health department to issue an advisory to polio vaccination teams not to move without security cover and to inform district police officials before starting campaigns in border areas.

While reviewing security for the polio immunisation campaign, the provincial security coordination committee reviewed the standing security instructions issued by the home department for five-day polio campaigns.

Concerned by the more than 70pc of refusals in Rawalpindi districts, the concerned authorities were told to use different methods to encourage people to vaccinate their children.

Religious leaders will be involved and announcements will be made while the campaign is ongoing.

The polio immunisation campaign began on March 16 and will continue until March 20 in various provincial districts including Rawalpindi, where 20,509 teams will vaccinate children below the age of five.

District administrations and police were told to give special attention to the campaign being launched in D.G. Khan, Rajanpur, Rahimyar Khan, Mianwali, Rawalpindi and other high-risk districts; transit points in Rajanpur, Rahimyar Khan, Rawalpindi and D.G. Khan and the border areas between Rawalpindi and Islamabad should be protected as well.

Divisional police chiefs were directed to ensure district police providesecurity to polio vaccination teams.

The police were directed to make cluster-wise deployments during the campaign.

The health department will alsoissue an advisory to polio vaccination teams not to move without security cover.

Before the campaign begins the concerned deputy commissioner and district police officer should be informed of the campaign in the border areas.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2020

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