Karachi, October 09, 2018 (PPI-OT): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has reiterated his resolve to eradicate polio and measles from the province of Sindh by intensifying vaccination campaigns and launching awareness drives. This he said on Tuesday while presiding over a meeting of provincial taskforce for polio eradication here at the CM House.
The meeting was attended by Minister Health Dr Azra Pechuho, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, provincial secretaries of local government and health, Commissioner Karachi Sauleh Farooqui, Adl IG Karachi Dr Ameer Shaikh, WHO Team Leader Dr Abdi Rehman, UNICEF team leader Mr Lieven Desomer, BMGF Team Leader Dr Altaf Bosan, Rotary International Chair Aziz Memon, all divisional commissioners and deputy commissioner of Karachi and other concerned.
Briefing the chief minister provincial Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Coordinator Fayaz Jatoi said that in in 2018 to this date no polio case has reported in Sindh as compared to last year when two cases were reported and both were from Karachi, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Gadap.
The chief minister was told that virus isolated from environmental sites, taken from sewage system, indicating on-going virus transmission. In Karachi samples are taken from 11 sites every month. In September Sohrab Goth- Gadap, Chakora Nalla- Gulshan, Mohammad Khan Colony-Baldia, Orangi Nala- SITE came positive while in rural areas of Sindh samples taken from six sites Jacobabad came positive.
To a question, the chief minister was told that the number of missed children due to refusals and non-availability of children at home in September anti-polio drive was recorded at 215,463, including 96906 not available and 118557 refused. In rural areas of the province, the number of missing children in September was recorded at 94,875 which include 88464 not available and 6411 refusal cases.
The Chief Minister said that frequent positive environmental samples in Jacobabad and Kamber was not a good sign. The reasons may be seasonal population movement to and from Karachi and Quetta and drought related population displacement from Tharparkar and Umerkot to other parts of the province. Therefore, he directed the Taskforce to devise the strategy to control the situation accordingly.
Murad Ali Shah said that the leadership of the DCs was required more now than ever before. Because they were present in the field. “I want to you [DCs] to control increasing community resistance to the polio vaccination.
The chief minister directed Minister Health Dr Azra Pechuho to improve the performance of the district and taluka Health Officers in some districts like Malir, West, Central, Jacobabad, Kamber, Sujawal and Matirai where frequent positive environmental samples were found. He also expressed his displeasure on inadequate support form directorate of private schools and directed education department to talk to them to cooperate with polio teams in administering polio vaccine to their school children, otherwise take strict action against them.
Measles Cases: The meeting was told that the measles cases have shown an increase during last four years. In 2015, 1175 measles suspected cases were reported, of them 281 were found confirmed and eight patients were died. In 2016 out of 3421 suspected cases 1729 were found confirmed, of them 19 died. In 2017, 5779 suspected cases were tested, of them 3086 found confirmed and 35 died and in 2018 suspected cases increased to 7778, of them 788 have been confirmed and 122 died.
The chief minister said that the situation is quite alarming and there should a thorough investigation into causes of measles outbreak. The health department must do its investigative work and simultaneously, the vigorous and focused campaign for measles vaccination be launched.
He said “we should improve our health indicators by taking multi-sectorial interventions. He added that necessary improvements may be made in nutrition, provision of clean drinking water, waste management and to educate people about health issues. Murad Ali Shah said that he was trying his best to make Sindh am healthy, wealthy and cleaner Sindh and for the purpose he urged everyone within the government and in the civil society to support him to achieve the goals.
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