Islamabad: Federal Health Minister, Riaz Hussain Pirzada launched the special polio drive for high-risk areas at the Directorate of Health Services here today. The Minister administered polio drops to children at a ceremony attended by representatives of World Health Organization, UNICEF, Government of Japan and Rotary International. The 3 day campaign is being held in the Federal Capital and 70 other high-risk districts in the country. Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Health Minister said polio eradication was a top priority in the health sector.
He lauded the efforts of the Capital Development Authority in ensuring the city remains polio-free despite the huge influx of people from polio affected districts into Islamabad. The Minister said that the country witnessed a sharp rise in polio cases due to security situation in FATA which has become the major reservoir of polio virus in the country. The Minister added that there was the strongest of commitment at the highest level to eradicating polio and both the President and Prime Minister were personally monitoring the campaign.
Briefing the gathering on the occasion, National Manager of Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme, Dr. Altaf Hussain Bosan informed that the 3 day drive will be held from 13th to 15th June in 71 districts of the country. Over 17 Million children under the age of 5 years are being targeted during the campaign. Over 54,000 special polio teams have been tasked to visit house to house in these districts to administer polio drops to children. The Federal Ministry of Health has provided necessary vaccine and logistics and now it is up to the Provincial and District Governments to ensure that no eligible child is missed, added Dr. Bosan.
Speaking on the occasion, Senior Director, Health Services, Islamabad, Dr. Hasan Orooj informed the Minister that Islamabad was polio-free since 2008. This was a result of stringent monitoring and effective implementation under the directives of Chairman, CDA, Imtiaz Inayat Elahi. Islamabad was a high-risk city from the public health perspective as there was huge influx of people from different parts of the country. Moreover, the city was growing at 4% annually which is the highest growth rate of any city in Pakistan, added Dr. Orooj. With the support of Ministry of Health and International partner agencies, every effort will be made to maintain polio-free status for Islamabad pledged Dr. Hasan Orooj.
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