Last campaign of 2016 gets underway to give Polio a final push

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Islamabad, December 18, 2016 - Over 200,000 dedicated and trained front line health workers across 164 districts and more than 7,400 union councils in all four provinces, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan will kick start the last campaign of the year on Monday.

Target for the last campaign is 37.2 million under five children across the length and breadth of the country during the next five days. Deputy Commissioners and Medical Officers will be leading the major activity to ensure that not a single child is missed.

Meticulous preparations are already finalized through the national and provincial Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) for high quality implementation of the last nationwide vaccination round of 2016, planned during the week of 19 December, 2016. January and February 2017 immunization campaigns, seen as critical to the country’s polio eradication effort.

Pakistan continues to implement the National Emergency Action Plan for polio eradication, to urgently interrupt all remaining strains of polio transmission in the country. The majority of the polio cases during the last six months were reported from non-reservoir areas, i.e. from ‘tier 2, 3 and 4’ districts (districts which are considered to be more vulnerable to polio re-infection or spread). There have been no paralytic cases of wild poliovirus from the traditional polio reservoirs in Pakistan since February 2016.

To ensure high quality of the campaigns, preparations are focusing on allocating adequate resources to the highest-risk areas; tailoring operational plans to identified reasons for area-specific missed children; validating vaccination teams’ micro plans, vaccinator selection/training and supervision; and enhancing local-level engagement with communities and community leaders. Intense cross-border coordination is ongoing with Afghanistan, to address the joint epidemiological transmission corridors affecting both countries.