No polio case reported in Khyber since 2019

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KHYBER: Khyber tribal district has reported no polio case since 2019 and largely controlled vaccination refusals due to community mobilisation campaigns and involvement of local volunteers for immunisation, said speakers at an event on 24 Feb 2024.

Health officials called the Alliance Building and Sensitisation Session with elected representatives and influencers from Landi Kotal tehsil ahead of the upcoming National Immunisation Day campaign.The organisers said the event was called to `garner support for polio vaccination, delink demands-based vaccination refusals, cover the children who missed immunisation, and engage all influencers for reaching out to all children under five years of age for vaccination.

Communication officer of the Polio Eradication Programme Said Afzal Shinwari highlighted the major issues and best practices recorded in the last immunisation campaigns and urged people`s elected representatives to play their due role in addressing issues of mass boycott of vaccination campaigns and immunisation refusals, and eliminating polio.

He said the upcoming polio campaign would commence on March 3 and last until March 9 targeting 223,000 children under the age of five years.

Mr Shinwari said 923 polio teams would administer anti-polio drops to children in Khyber district.

He said refusal of polio vaccination on religious grounds in Khyber was the lowest compared with other regions of the country.

`Only demands-based immunisation refusals were reported in isolated places during previous campaigns butwe effectively tackled them,` he said.

Chairman of the Landi Kotal tehsil council Shah Khalid highlighted the role of elected representatives in advocating polio vaccination saying they can allocate resources, legislate, and raise awareness to ensure vaccination of children against diseases, including polio.

Elected members of all neighbouring and village councils as well as prominent influencers promised support for polio vaccination and said they would actively participate in the NID campaign and encourage children’s vaccination against polio.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 25th Feb 2024.
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