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The nationwide anti-polio campaign has ended, during which more than 600,000 children were given anti-polio drugs in forty-nine districts.
The Federal Minister of Health has declared 2023 as important for the eradication of polio in Pakistan.
Abdul Qadir Patel said in a statement that repeated vaccination is very important for increasing the immunity of children. Another polio campaign will be held in March.
According to the health ministry, the campaign was held in February in Lahore, Faizabad and seven districts of southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Bannu, Di Khan, Tank, North Waziristan, Upper South Waziristan, Lower Waziristan and Lakhi Marwat.
Children were also vaccinated in the special trade union councils of 30 districts.
Officials say that last year 20 cases of polio were recorded in the southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region, after September 2022, no cases of polio were recorded in the country.
It is worth mentioning that the anti-polio campaign in 39 districts of the country started on Monday, February 13, during which 6 million children were expected to be screened for polio.
During the campaign, it was also partially conducted in selected Union Councils of 30 districts of the country, including Balochistan, including some of the Sheikhupura Councils, 57 SSCs in the border area adjacent to Afghanistan, 58 US in Afghan refugee camps and 107 ISSCs. Multan Trade Union Councils participated.
According to a statement from the Ministry of National Health, the campaign was launched after the confirmation of polio virus in 2 environmental samples in Lahore last month.
According to the laboratory of the National Institute of Polio Health, the first positive sample of 2023 was confirmed on January 19, with similar genetics of the virus found in November 2022 in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
It was the first evidence of cross-border transmission of polio in more than a year, and a second positive sample was found on January 27 that was genetically identical to the virus found in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel has encouraged parents and guardians to ensure that their children are vaccinated.
He said that the presence of wild polio virus with genetic link to this virus in Afghanistan and southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is proof of the movement of the virus.
He went on to say that “on both sides of the border, the polio virus is a threat to children in both countries, only repeated oral polio vaccines can provide lifelong protection.”
Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Center, Dr. Shahzod Baig, said that last year, 37 environmental samples of wild polio virus were positive in 13 districts. However, due to repeated campaigns, the virus has been contained in some districts of southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In 2022, 20 children were paralyzed by this virus in the country and all of them belonged to the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, out of 20, 17 were from North Waziristan, two from Lakki Marwat and one from South Waziristan.