Protecting children is our collective responsibility and the support of parents and communities is critical in the fight against polio: Dr Nadeem Jan

Islamabad, November 27, 2023 – Federal Minister for Health Dr Nadeem Jan inaugurated the third nationwide polio vaccination campaign of the year on Monday, urging parents and caregivers to open their doors to vaccinators to get their children immunized.

“Poliovirus has paralyzed five children this year, all these children deserved a healthy life and future. We cannot allow a vaccine-preventable disease to continue to harm our children like this,” he said.

Highlighting that protecting children’s well-being was a collective responsibility, Dr Jan said: “Every country that has eliminated polio so far has done so with the support of communities, parents, religious leaders, and social organizations. We need the same in Pakistan, for communities to join the government in its fight against polio.”

The campaign inauguration was held in Islamabad Model School, I-8/1, where schoolchildren presented a short tableau in cultural costumes of provinces and the minister officially launched the campaign by giving polio drops to children under five.

Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication, said: “Polio cases are fewer than they have ever been, yet the virus has shown up in sewage samples in several major cities this year, indicating that some population pockets that have missed out on the vaccine. The Programme is continuously reviewing and reassessing its strategies and campaigns. We will ensure that we find these missed populations and vaccinate them.”

Over 44.3 million children under five years of age will be vaccinated in 159 districts during this third and last national campaign of 2023, which is being held in phases across the country.

Note for the Editor:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free, except for the two endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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