Fata launches another offensive against poliovirus today

PESHAWAR: Despite being a hotbed for the virus for years, the sudden absence of any new cases of polio in the tribal belt for the past year and a half has boosted the confidence of health officials in their vaccination efforts, who have now embarked on another, comprehensive immunization campaign in the region.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) have been polio-free for over 17 months – surpassing expectations and even the record of some of the settled areas of the country.

According to a statement issued by the Fata Secretariat on Sunday, health authorities are now set to launch the first anti-polio campaign of 2018 in the tribal areas today (Monday).

The three-day vaccination campaign is expected to be carried out under the supervision of surgeons from Fata while security will be provided by political agents, commissioners and law enforcement forces.

The statement stated that the campaign, which concludes on January 17, will be followed by catch-up campaigns to inoculate children who were missed during the main campaign.

As many as 4,365 vaccination teams, including 3,980 mobile teams, 285 fixed and 100 transit teams are aiming to inoculate 1.025 million children below five-years-of-age.

Fata Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Coordinator Zubair Khan has urged teams to focus on both polio high-risk settlements as well as high-risk mobile population to ensure that all children are vaccinated against the crippling virus.

“We should concentrate on vaccinating high-risk mobile children moving to-and-from polio reservoir areas and the persistently missed children,” the statement quoted Zubair as saying, adding, “We are close to eradicating polio in Fata and have almost achieved the goal for Fata’s status as ‘zero polio case’ in 2017.”

The last poliovirus case was reported on July 27th, 2016.

He added their biggest priority should be to meet all the requirements needed to secure global certification.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2018.

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Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1608800/1-fata-launches-another-offensive-poliovirus-today/