Balochistan is gearing up for a significant milestone in public health as an extensive seven-day anti-polio campaign begins today, targeting children under the age of five across all 34 districts of the province. Coordinated by Syed Zahid Shah, the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in Balochistan, in collaboration with the government, has meticulously orchestrated this campaign, which aims to provide vital polio drops to approximately 2.4 million children. In addition to polio vaccinations, children will also receive essential Vitamin A drops as part of this life-saving initiative.
Mr. Shah, the coordinator of the EOC, expressed confidence in the preparations, stating, “All necessary arrangements have been made regarding the campaign. Around 10,500 teams would be deployed to vaccinate children under the age of five.” The campaign’s success is bolstered by the deployment of 8,589 mobile teams, 925 fixed teams, and 547 transit teams throughout the province to ensure comprehensive coverage.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Balochistan’s efforts is its unblemished record in maintaining a polio-free status for the past two years. Mr. Shah proudly noted, “Since January 2021, there have been no reported polio cases in the province.” The last recorded case was on January 27, 2021, in district Killa Abdullah. Furthermore, since April 2021, no traces of the polio virus have been detected in environmental samples collected in Balochistan.
Ensuring the safety of the dedicated polio workers and the success of this campaign remains a top priority. Mr. Shah explained, “We have adopted strict security measures to prevent any unforeseen situations. Balochistan Levies force, police, and Frontier Corps will be deployed to protect the polio workers.” Additionally, religious scholars are actively engaged in persuading parents who may have reservations about vaccinating their children.
While the polio campaign takes center stage, Balochistan is also focusing on Routine Immunisation (RI) as a critical component of its broader polio eradication efforts. Mr. Shah emphasized, “We are striving to provide adequate resources not only for vaccination against childhood vaccine-preventable diseases but also working to expand RI service delivery in remote areas to enhance coverage.”
Mr. Shah lauded the dedication of frontline workers and called for continued efforts to halt the circulation of the polio virus and safeguard the health of Balochistan’s children.