Pakistan launches low-season push against polio

First of nine vaccination campaigns aiming to leave no child unreached

Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq administers polio drops to a child in Islamabad during the first day of the nationwide immunization campaign.

Pakistan Polio Eradication Initiative

Pakistan launched a nationwide polio campaign yesterday to vaccinate more than 35 million children in 163 districts of the country. Approximately 200,000 polio workers are participating in the polio campaign, during which Vitamin A will also be distributed.

The Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, monitored the campaign in various areas of Islamabad including urban and rural slums, reminding administrators that there would be zero tolerance for negligence. “Our priority is to reach out each and every child so that no child remains unvaccinated during this nationwide polio drive”, said Senator Farooq during her visit. “Nine campaigns are planned during September 2015 to May 2016 and every campaign is critically important to stop polio virus transmission.”

Pakistan currently accounts for most of the children paralyzed by wild poliovirus this year (30), followed by Afghanistan (9). These are the only two countries in the world with wild poliovirus cases in 2015: the lowest number of countries in history. Pakistan country is well-positioned to take advantage of the the current ‘low season’ for poliovirus transmission; it has prepared emergency operations centres at federal and provincial level and is improving its ability to hold every level of the administration accountable for delivering vaccine to children. The quality of these campaigns – whether missed children are given the opportunity to be vaccinated – will determine how swiftly Pakistan can eradicate polio.

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