Pak Army to support anti-polio campaign in area bordering Afghanistan

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Thursday, 20 August 2015 14:26

QUETTA: The Pakistan Army has assured the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) of its support in carrying out polio eradication campaigns along the border with Afghanistan, particularly at the Friendship Gate crossing in Chaman.

The assurance came during a meeting held at the EOC office here on Wednesday to review the strategy of vaccinating children at permanent transit points. It was presided over by EOC Coordinator Dr Syed Saifur Rehman and attended by the representative of Southern Command, Maj Inam Haider, Dr Abdul Aziz of Unicef, the World Health Organisation’s Dr Sarfraz Jamaldini, Dr Anwar of the Extended Programme for Immunisation and others.

Dr Jamaldini told the meeting that there were 57 permanent transit vaccination points in Balochistan but only 46 were functional. Six points are located along the Afghan border and 16 along Balochistan’s borders with other provinces.

The facilities available at the Friendship Gate were not up to the mark, he said and called for setting up a permanent transit point there to improve the vaccination coverage.

The meeting was informed about lack of shades and umbrellas for field staff, poor maintenance of cold chain for vaccines, security concerns and validation of vaccination data.

Dr Rehman said an improvement in the coverage in areas along the Afghan border would significantly help in eradicating poliovirus.

“It is a national cause as important as maintaining law and order,” he said.

Maj Haider said the army realised the importance of the polio eradication campaigns and assured the meeting that the army would support the drive.

The meeting decided that army officials would visit the Friendship Gate to review the situation and take steps to improve the coverage. Polio workers will be placed at a better location to get access to more children crossing the border.

A meeting will be held between the border security forces and EOC officials on a monthly basis to improve coordination between them.

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