Over 375,000 children displaced by the military operation in North Waziristan have been administered anti-polio vaccine at different transit points. About 800,000 people have moved out of North Waziristan and taken shelter in camps set up in Bannu. A large number of IDPs are also living with their relatives in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.
An official at the Prime Minister’s Monitoring and Coordination Cell for Polio said there were nine permanent transit points and IDPs had to pass through these while going to settled areas. “Vaccination teams have been deputed at all points and they are administering polio vaccine to every child. Boys and girls of up to 15 years of age are also being administered polio vaccine,” he said.
Till July 6 as many as 200,000 polio doses were given to children below five years of age, 95,000 doses to children aged between five and 10 years and 81,000 doses to children over 10 years of age. The official said that 165,000 children had been administered polio vaccine at the FR Bannu transit point, 62,000 at Hangu, 34,000 at D.I. Khan, 27,000 at Tank, 13,000 at Lakki Marwat, 32,000 at Bannu, 31,000 at Kohat, 12,000 at Kark and 5,000 children at Kurram transit point. Dr Altaf Bosan, technical head of the PM’s polio cell, told Dawn that it had been decided that every child would be administered polio vaccine at the transit points.
“Vaccines are available and we are taking the operation as a blessing because if all children of Waziristan get vaccine, polio will be eliminated from the country,” he said. It may be mentioned that the anti-polio campaign could not be launched in the volatile tribal region over the past over two years. -dawn