Pakistan resumes anti-polio campaign amid COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-07-20 19:30:44|Editor: huaxia

ISLAMABAD, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan on Monday has resumed its door to door anti-polio campaign in high-risk districts across the country after a nearly-four-month halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

Pakistan had suspended all polio related activities in the last week of March except surveillance owing to the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the three-day first phase of the drive, about 0.8 million children under the age of five will be vaccinated, Zulfiqar Babakhel, spokesman for the National Emergency Operations Center of Pakistan Polio Eradication Program told Xinhua.

He said a set of standard operating procedures has been chalked out to be followed by the polio workers to avoid the spread of COVID-19 while carrying out their duty, adding that police personnel will also be deployed to ensure the safety of the workers.

Rana Muhammad Safdar, who oversees the country's polio eradication program, said in a statement recently that "we are initially aiming to target areas with continuous poliovirus circulation to protect children against the crippling polio disease."

"The door to door campaigns will also be utilized to raise awareness on COVID-19 preventive measures and referring mothers and children for other essential vaccinations as well as the antenatal care services," he said.

Pakistan is one of the very few countries in the world where polio disease still exists. A total of 59 polio cases have been reported throughout Pakistan this year, whereas it had 147 cases in 2019, according to the statistics released by the Pakistan Polio Eradication Program. Enditem