Anti-polio campaign targeting 3.5 mn children begins in Pakistan

Islamabad: A three-day anti-polio campaign targeting over 3.5 million children has begun in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the media reported.

According to Provincial Health Department, more than 3.5 million children up to five years of age will be administered anti-polio drops during the campaign for the eradication of the crippling virus, state-run broadcaster Radio Pakistan reported on Monday.

Some 14,000 teams are taking part in the drive, said officials from the health department, adding that the teams will go to remote, rural and urban areas of 16 districts in the province to accomplish the task.

Anti-polio teams will visit schools, bus stands and railway stations, Afghan refugees camps and other public places and also will go door-to-door to give anti-polio drops to the children, said the health department.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world that suffers from endemic polio, a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease.

Muhammad Safdar, Pakistan’s national coordinator on polio, said that so far only one polio case has been reported this year, whereas there were eight cases in 2017. He said the number of cases has steadily declined since 2014 when 306 polio cases were reported.