ISLAMABAD, Oct 11 (APP):The government has decided to launch an effective sensitization campaign for parents at federal level to ensure immunization of their children during every anti-polio vaccination drive.
According to official sources, the decision was made keeping in view the increasing number of polio cases which were being reported throughout the country particularly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
They said that under the plan, public awareness will be created through media on all government advertisements to educate the people on prevention of their children from the crippling disease.
They said that this media drive will be initiated by introducing polio awareness logo on all advertisements with an objective to tell the people about the importance of polio vaccination.
They said that the main objective behind this move was to improve coverage of polio vaccination and complete eradication of the disease from the country, keeping in view the increasing number of polio cases in the country.
The sources said this initiative will also be helpful in reaching the message to every countryman with sense of taking extra care on this issue and also passing on relevant information about the prevention of the disease to other citizens.
They said that the figure of confirmed polio cases reached 69 for the current year, out of which majority were from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They said that the polio virus situation in the KP was alarming and the government had planned several steps to handle the situation.
They said Bannu was the main area where mostly cases were being reported and the cause behind having polio virus in Bannu was refusal to polio vaccination to their children by parents. After confirmation of polio virus, the parents accepted that they had refused the vaccination for their children on wrong propaganda, they added.
Meanwhile, the official of National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) said that the extensive environmental surveillance established by the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme had detected the polio virus from sewage of 10 cities.
He said that the presence of polio virus was confirmed in sewage samples collected from Faisalabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Sukkur, Killah Abdullah, Quetta, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and South Waziristan.
Considering the associated risks, the country programme had urged the parents to ensure immunization of all children under the age of five years during the polio campaigns, he added.
He said polio eradication was a delicate time race between parents and healthcare workers and a deadly polio virus. “We have to collectively ensure that we reach all children with multiple doses of vaccination before this dangerous polio virus found in the sewage of these towns reach unprotected children.”
He said the programme was focusing on children who missed vaccination because on any reason and let the virus survive no longer. The continued presence of polio virus in the sewage of major cities posed risks to all vulnerable and unprotected children across Pakistan, he added.
The official said polio was a highly infectious disease caused by polio virus mainly affecting children under the age of ten years. “It invades the nervous system, and can cause paralysis or even death.”
He added while there was no cure for polio, vaccination was the most effective way to protect children from the crippling disease. “Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased,” he said and added that repeated immunizations had protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free.