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Islamabad -- ‘Polio-free’ since 2008: WHO 

10 Junie 2011 09:54:44

Islamabad -- ‘Polio-free’ since 2008: WHO

Non-provision of LHWs didn’t shake our commitment: Imtiaz

The Federal Capital Islamabad has been a polio-free city since last three years as no such case has been detected during the period, owing to the enhanced vigilance of civic authorities. During the recent anti-polio drive, the vaccination teams administered polio vaccine to above ninety percent of the children below five as leftover minimal number could not be approached due to various reasons. The fact has also been confirmed by the monitoring report, released by international independent monitors of World Health Organization (WHO).

A meeting to review the progress in this regard was held here at CDA headquarters on Friday with Chairman CDA Imtiaz Inayat Elahi in chair. In the meeting, Chairman CDA commended that no polio case has been reported in Islamabad since year 2008 and the coverage of children for the administration of polio drops under five years of age is up to the international standards.

Giving a presentation, Director Health Services Dr. Hassan Arooj said the statistics show that coverage of under five years age children have been 95%, 94% and 96% in January, March and April 2011 respectively, using “parent recall indicator” for administration of polio drops to their children.

Likewise, the finger marking indicator shows that the coverage of children under five years of age had been 90%, 90% and 93% respectively during the above mentioned polio campaigns.

The same achievement was reflected in the last campaign held from 9th to 11th May, 2011 wherein the finger marking indicator of children showed coverage of 90% in the capital city.

It is pertinent to mention that these results are calculated after a thorough post-campaign monitoring by independent monitors from international agencies such as WHO. This third party evaluation is then shared with the government.

The meeting was apprised that the average number of target children which were planned to be reached were from 125000 to 126000 living in capital. In order to conduct the polio campaign in a systematic manner, Islamabad was operationally divided into 15 zones. The zones were further divided into 75 sectors. 355 teams, each comprising of two members who visited door to door for the purpose of administration of polio drops. In addition, there are 105 fixed centers established in the public and private health care facilities of Islamabad. In order to cover the mobile population, entering and leaving Islamabad, numerous teams were deputed at various transit points so that this population is not missed out.

Islamabad is a high risk city in terms of public health issues, since there are large numbers of urban slums where people live in poor socio economic conditions and are vulnerable to be infected and are also a source of infection. During polio campaigns special stress is given to such pockets of population. In addition, special emphasis is attributed to schools, madrissas, markets and parks where children are immunized during the campaign period.

Giving special importance to the issues, a Polio Eradication Committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Chairman CDA, which holds its meetings to plan and organize polio campaigns. The Chairman CDA has reflected a leading role in bringing together all major stakeholders for the cause.

Islamabad in addition to the challenge of growing urban slums has not been provided with lady health workers to conduct polio campaigns as is the case in the rest of the country. The polio campaigns in Islamabad are therefore, conducted through volunteers --mostly students. A thorough training is conducted prior to each campaign and micro-plans of the entire city are developed in order to ensure the coverage for each resident of the city. Imtiaz Inayat Elahi said that CDA has been honored to be chosen by WHO as one of the city for the implementation of Health Equity Model. The core purpose of the model is to ensure equitable provision of services to all the citizens of Islamabad whether rich or poor in order to avert communicable and non-communicable diseases from the city.