Environmental sewerage samples taken from Rawalpindi have tested negative for polio virus after three consecutive months. After the clearing polio virus from city sewerage, the district health department cancelled the planned one-day campaigns in high risk areas with consultation of World Health Organization (WHO).
There was a plan to conduct seven one-day polio campaigns in ten high risk union councils in the city and Ward No 9 and 10 in the cantonment areas. Total three campaigns were launched in the district from March 18 to April 24 in high risk union councils but further campaigns were stopped. An official of district health department told the environmental sample for test of polio virus in city nullahs were taken from Safdarabad and Kattarian.
The sample was declared free from polio virus and forced the department, with consultation of WHO, to cancelled the one-day campaigns in the highly risk union councils. However, the health department is all set to launch three-day anti-polio campaign in the district on May 5. “For the three-day anti-polio campaign scheduled to be held on May 5, the department has asked the police to provide security for all the vaccinators across the district,” he said. Executive District Officer for Health Dr Zafar Iqbal Gondal told Dawn that the one day campaigns were not stopped after finding the sewerage free from polio virus.
He said that for three consecutive months, the polio virus was found in the city nullahs and had forced the district health department to launch additional campaigns in high risk areas. “The anti-polio campaigns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) have been conducted affectively and this has saved the garrison city also, as most of the people residing in the 10 high-risk union councils came from KPK and their movement is frequent,” he said.
He said that after the incident of firing in Dhoke Mangtal on female polio vaccinator, the department has asked the district coordination officer to enhance the security of vaccinators to avoid any untoward situation in the district. “We have formed 700 teams and demanded for armed police personnel to be deployed with each team for protection,” he said. He said that more than 77 teams were already working at bus terminals, railway station and transit points to vaccinate all the children round the clock. He said that there was a dire need of security for these teams too. -dawn