Pakistan

Polio vaccination campaign in Karachi to begin from Feb 10

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A polio vaccination drive will be carried out in Karachi starting February 10 and will go on till the 16th of the month, an official at the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio told Dawn.com.

The drive will be conducted in all six districts of Karachi and will target children less than five years of age.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country, a five-day polio vaccination campaign, aiming to inoculate approximately 40 million children will begin on Feb 17 and will go on till Feb 21.

Dates for the campaign in Karachi were moved up in light of the Pakistan Super League matches scheduled to take place in the metropolis, the official told Dawn.com.

The official added that approximately 265,000 polio workers will participate in the nationwide campaign, going door-to-door to inoculate children under the age of five.

This will be the first of two nationwide polio campaigns aimed at plugging the immunity gap that emerged in Pakistan during 2019.

According to the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme website, 144 cases of wild polio virus (WPV) were reported in Pakistan in 2019. In comparison, only 12 and eight cases had emerged in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Meanwhile, seven cases of WPV have been reported across the country so far in 2020.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the last remaining countries that have been unable to eradicate polio. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a lack of infrastructure, remote locations, population movement, conflict and insecurity, and resistance to vaccination are some of the reasons why polio is still endemic in the two countries .

Pakistan is also under a polio-linked travel restriction imposed by the WHO due to which, since 2014, every person travelling abroad has to carry a vaccination certificate.

Polio is a disease that affects the nervous system, causing paralysis and even death. Children under the age of five are most vulnerable to the disease. While there is no cure for the disease, regular vaccinations have proven to be effective in keeping children polio free.

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