Pakistan’s Prime Minister Focal Person on Polio and MNA Ayesha Raza Farooq has issued a notification to the provincial governments to cancel the first polio campaign of 2015, which was scheduled to be held from Monday, due to security reasons.
The anti-polio drive was supposed to be held from January 5 to January 7. It was expected to conduct in some areas of the Rawalpindi district, the entire Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and parts of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, Dawn online reported.
As per reports from IANS, the total number of polio cases detected in Pakistan has escalated to 297. The country is just three cases away from breaking the record of 1998 in which 300 cases were reported.
The target of the Short Internal Activity Days (SIAD) campaign, which had to be held in the high-risk union councils of 54 districts, was to vaccinate 8.5 million children.
However, the targeted children would now be covered in the National Immunisation Days (NIDs) campaign from January 19.
Meanwhile, an official of the National Health Services (NHS) said that holding polio campaigns with short intervals was necessary to eradicate the crippling disease.
“Unfortunately, since the terror attack on the Army Public School Peshawar Dec 16, the whole country has been facing severe security threats. Not only educational institutions have been closed but also security in most of the cities has been put on high alert,” the official said.
However, an official press release of the National EOC states, “The measure has been taken in view of insufficient time available to the districts to prepare for the campaign since many were still finishing their December campaigns. Furthermore, there was a need to ensure that a polio round is of the highest quality and necessary measures for security of polio workers are in place.”
The Prime Minister’s Polio Cell decided to cancel the campaign, claiming that it wanted more time for the preparations.
The official said the provincial teams had been advised to give more attention on the preparations, pre-campaign monitoring and improving the readiness status of the nationwide polio campaign planned from January 19-21.