Via Dawn.com: 12 vaccinators suspended over rise in polio cases, poor immunisation. Excerpt:
The provincial health department has suspended 12 polio workers in the wake of findings of a federal government-funded survey that placed the immunisation coverage below 29 per cent in Sindh, it emerged on Saturday.
However, sources said, no action was taken against any senior official for the negligence.
An official said the department was contemplating to also take ‘suitable’ action against certain senior officials after an ‘inquiry’, which had been ordered, but no details were shared with the media about its time frame and who had been tasked with the investigation.
The sources in the health department said the authorities had suspended the 12 vaccinators belonging to Gadap, Baldia and Landhi towns for the poor immunisation campaign in the three polio ‘sensitive’ neighbourhoods, leading to frequent emergence of polio cases in recent months.
While Gadap has already been identified as the area inflicted with high incidence of poliovirus, this year six of the 13 cases reported in Karachi were detected in the neighbourhood. In all, 14 polio cases have been reported across Sindh so far this year.
Officials in Islamabad said it was not just the rising number of polio cases but also the dismal immunisation coverage in Sindh as showed by the recent survey conducted by an independent group that triggered the health department to take action against some vaccinators.
Some sketchy details of the survey put Sindh with 29 per cent immunisation coverage just better than Balochistan where 25pc targeted population were immunised, while Islamabad carried the highest ratio of immunisation, followed by Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
For the past many years, officials conceded, the percentage of general immunisation remained 29pc or less in Sindh.Polio workers have repeatedly come under attacks in Gadap town in recent years, compelling the authorities to suspend the immunisation campaigns quite often in Gadap and some other areas of the city. On Jan 21, three polio workers, two of them female, were killed in Qayyumabad.
Only half of the targeted population in Pakistan is immunised effectively according to present official statistics. Among the provinces, Punjab has been found to have the highest percentage of immunisation coverage (66 per cent) and Balochistan with the lowest with quarter of its targeted population being effectively immunised.