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Pakistan Launches Special Anti-Polio Campaign After Virus Detected in Sewage Samples

The Pakistani government has announced a special anti-polio campaign, termed ‘Outbreak Response,’ following the detection of poliovirus in sewage samples across various parts of the country. The campaign, set to run from July 1 to July 7, aims to vaccinate over 9.5 million children.

The anti-polio drive will cover 41 districts, including the capital, Islamabad. Specific focus will be given to 31 districts where polio-positive sewage samples were identified. This includes 16 districts in Balochistan, 11 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight in Sindh, and five in Punjab.

The initiative is a response to the detection of Type-1 Wild Poliovirus in sewage lines, with the number of positive samples rising to 203 in 2024. The campaign aims to vaccinate 8.9 million children in the districts with polio-positive sewage samples. Specific targets include 900,000 children in Balochistan, 1.3 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2.7 million in Sindh, 4.4 million in Punjab, and 133,000 in Islamabad.

This urgent public health intervention follows the recent identification of poliovirus in sewage samples from seven districts: Islamabad, Quetta, Nasirabad, Karachi, Peshawar, and Gujranwala. The detection of the virus in these areas underscores the necessity for immediate and comprehensive vaccination efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

To date, Pakistan has reported eight polio cases in 2024. The new anti-polio campaign reflects the government’s ongoing commitment to eradicating polio, with intensified efforts to reach every child and ensure they receive the necessary vaccinations.

Health officials urge parents to cooperate with vaccination teams and ensure their children are vaccinated during the campaign. This collective effort is crucial for protecting children from polio and achieving the goal of a polio-free Pakistan.

The government, in collaboration with health organizations, continues to monitor the situation closely and is prepared to take additional measures as needed to combat the spread of the virus.

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