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03-day anti-polio drive kicks off in Quetta

QUETTA, 16 MAY (DNA) – Three-day anti-polio drive has kicked-off in the provincial capital on Monday that aims at vaccinating over 2.3 million children.

6,773 teams while 825 fixed and 340 transit points have been established for the cause. Thousands of police and Balochistan Constabulary personnel have been tasked with security of at least 7,938 mobile polio teams.

Contingents of Frontier Constabulary (FC) will also perform duties. Health department has made arrangements in 12 mohajir camps to vaccinate at least 50,000 Afghan migrants as well.

Attacks on polio teams in Balochistan and other parts of the country have complicated vaccination drives for health authorities. In January at least 15 persons were killed in a blast outside an anti-polio centre in Quetta.

Attacks in a city impact health department’s activities in other cities as well. An attack on an anti-polio team in Karachi in April martyred seven policemen resultantly, a drive, ongoing in Multan was deferred for as many as seven days.

However, number of polio cases has declined in the recent years in Pakistan. Year 2015 witnessed 54 cases in the country which was an 80 percent fall from the earlier figures. Reach of polio teams to remote areas in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of the country was supported by successful Operation Zarb-e-Azb that was launched in mid 2014 to eradicate militancy.

At least 98 percent of children were vaccinated against the crippling virus in FATA in March which was a big leap for health authorities compared with previous years when teams could not reach different areas owing to threats and insurgency. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries left in the world that are struggling with eradication of polio. DNA

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