Polio drive starts in remote Khyber areas today
LANDI KOTAL/PESHAWAR, Aug 27: The health authorities will launch a weeklong vaccination campaign in the remote Bazaar-Zakhakhel area of Khyber Agency on Tuesday against eight common diseases of children including polio.
Officials said that 15 teams comprising three health workers each would vaccinate at least 30,000 children under the age of the five in Bazaar-Zakhakhel, Alacha, Karamna and Brag areas. They said that alongside polio, children would also be vaccinated against measles, diphtheria, hepatitis, meningitis, pertussis, Hi-influenza and pneumonia.
They said that every child would be also provided with a hygiene kit comprising soap, towel, toothpaste and tooth brush. “The distribution of hygiene kit is aimed at creating health awareness among tribal people living in remote areas,” officials said.
They said that the immunisation campaign named as ‘Tirah Immunisation Plus Schedule’ would be conducted in four phases.
The second phase of the drive would be conducted from Sept 28 to Oct 5 during which children would be also given vitamin-A
drops, they said.
The third phase will start on Nov 5 and will end on Nov 12. The last phase covering equal number of children in the same localities will be conducted by the end of the year.
Officials said that they feared no resistance from local tribal people as the area elders had assured them of their full support and cooperation during all the four phases of the vaccination campaign.
But contrary to Bazaar-Zakhakhel, most parts of Tirah that are now under the control of banned militant group Lashkar-i-Islam and Taliban, are considered inaccessible for any health related intervention.
Lashkar-i-Islam chief Mangal Bagh had only recently issued a stern warning to all health workers against carrying out any vaccination in the areas under his control.
Health officials said that the campaign would be extended to other secure parts of Khyber Agency if they were able to achieve desirable results.
Meanwhile, a meeting chaired by Fata additional chief secretary reviewed various steps for eradication of polio from Fata and early start of construction work on Fata University.
Various schemes in health, education and road sectors were also approved in the meeting held on Monday in Peshawar.
Fata Additional Chief Secretary Dr Tashfeen Khan told the meeting that promotion of education and provision of improved
health services to the tribal communities were top priorities of the government.
He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor had issued instruction for taking extraordinary measures to eradicate polio from tribal areas. “For the purpose, all political agents have been directed to sensitise people regarding the importance of polio
vaccination,” he said.
The meeting was also briefed about the proposed Fata University project.