Polio vaccine being given under army cover in Pakistan

Islamabad: Polio workers continued to administer polio drops Thursday under the protection of the army in Pakistan’s Khyber tribal region in the fourth phase of polio vaccination drive.

Under the protective cover of the army and Frontier Corps personnel, the polio workers administered vaccine to children less than 10 years of age in the Malikdin Khel area Thursday.

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Militants’ activities in the region have rendered Malikdin Khel volatile and a no-go area for sometime.

The polio workers said each phase has a target of over 75,900 children.

The fourth phase is currently in progress and, despite adverse circumstances, the polio campaign has achieved 60 percent of the target so far, the report said.

About 120,000 children have been vaccinated in various parts of the Khyber region since the campaign started in 2012.

Wazir Akbar of the National Staff Transmission of Polio in the Khyber tribal area said that polio drops were administered to about 26,878 children during the current phase, which started May 6.

The drive will go on till the end of this month.

Akbar added that “the army and the Frontier Corps (FC) were providing security cover to the teams that were carrying out the campaign”.

He said the situation in Bara has improved as only two polio cases were reported so far in 2014, as compared to 14 in 2013.

The Khyber tribal area, especially Bara, remained inaccessible to polio workers due to terrorist threats.

Pakistan will put into effect from June a WHO recommendation that requires all travellers from this south Asian country to carry a polio vaccination certificate.

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended the measure due to the alarming increase in the number of polio cases in the country (61 so far compared to the total of 91 in 2013).