Refusal cases biggest challenge for polio vaccinators in Balochistan

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QUETTA: As a three-day vaccination campaign against polio in 15 high-risk districts of Balochistan got under way, the toughest task of vaccinators in the province is to deal with parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated against the crippling disease.

According to a report of Pakistan Demographic Health Survey, there had been 2,821 refusal cases during a similar campaign launched in the province last month. Around 15,232 other children did not receive polio drops because they were not available when vaccinators visited their homes. The cases of refusal were high in Quetta as compared to other parts of the province.

The report said for addressing the issue of missed children and improving the trust of parents over vaccinators, the provincial government set up 119 health camps in high-risk areas — 48 in Quetta, 45 in Qila Abdullah and 26 in Pishin. These health camps provided diagnosis and treatment services, vaccination facilities for polio and other diseases and antenatal care services to pregnant women.

The report portrayed a very grim picture of healthcare situation in Balochistan.

According to the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey 2012-2013, the under-five child mortality rate was 111 deaths per 1,000 live births in Balochistan and infant mortality rate 97 per 1,000 live births. It said 60 per cent of these children died of vaccine preventable diseases. Only 16 per cent children in the province are fully immunised against nine deadly diseases.

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