Via Dawn.com: Polio drive deferred for want of security. Excerpt:
KARACHI: The health authorities postponed its special polio campaign, held on Sundays, in ‘sensitive’ neighbourhoods as they could not be provided security cover because of police preoccupation with protests organised by various opposition political parties in the city, officials said.
The special campaigns had been launched three months ago especially to target the areas where children missed out on polio boosters because of security situation.
“We could not continue with our scheduled Sunday campaigns because we could not get the required security cover from the authorities,” said a senior official in the provincial health department.
The campaigns have attained more importance in the wake of World Health Organisation’s travel restrictions on the country for its staggeringly high contribution to polio cases recorded globally this year.
The official said the city was already in a state of chaos because of protest rallies organised by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its allies — the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik of Dr Tahirul Qadri.
“Ironically,” said another provincial government official, “our polio campaign this week has been pushed back by those who are themselves engaged in similar polio drives in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.”
The Sindh’s expanded programme on immunisation is engaged in administering oral polio vaccine (OPV) to international passengers at airports. The government has already authorised all district hospitals and senior district officials to administer vaccine and issue vaccination certificates to the people scheduled to go abroad.
In the meantime, since the provincial authorities have stocks of vaccine just for children aged less than five years, they have asked the centre to supply at least 150,000 vials of OPV. Each vial contains 20 doses.
Officials said they were investigating reports published in a section of press about issuance of vaccination certificates by some major hospitals on hefty price. Similar complaints had been received about certain government hospitals, which were to vaccinate people and issue certificates free of charge.