Islamabad: In a surprise move, the Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar visited vaccinators working in slums located on the outskirts of Islamabad to personally monitor the immunisation campaign on the second day of the three-day nationwide drive.

Tarar was accompanied by the Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq and senior officers of the health ministry.

The health minister went inside the homes in Mehrabadi and asked mothers if their children had been vaccinated by vaccinators. Families were also urged to vaccinate their children against diseases explaining that vaccination was being provided by the government for free for every child against nine diseases and that it was the responsibility of the parents to avail these services for the health and wellbeing of their children.

She also inspected the children playing in the streets to see whether their fingers had been marked after they were vaccinated.

Tarar also spoke with polio teams and checked their tally sheets. She also advised polio teams to pay attention to children who may be visiting relatives since there is a possibility that such children are missed in the drive.

Apart from the polio drops, the health minister directed vaccinators to administer the injectable polio vaccine (IPV) as well to children to enhance their immunity against polio.

She further directed that each house, including makeshift shanties, should be properly marked with permanent markers to ensure each household is covered.

Tarar said that areas in the capital such as Mehra Jaffar, Bhara Kahu, Rawat, Koral-urban north, Koral-urban south, Sector E-11 and Sector F-11 were areas of concern and require the greater attention of the Islamabad administration and health officials in order to avert the risk of polio in these areas.

Noting that the polio drive in the capital was critical, she said would be personally monitoring the campaign in the city.

She also took notice of gaps in the provision of routine immunisation services against nine deadly diseases of children in the area and issued directions to ensure that every child is immunised without fail.