KARACHI          -          Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the emergence of 24 polio cases in the province in 2019 was quite painful.

Presiding over a meeting of Provincial Task Force on polio eradication here at the CM House on Saturday, the CM said, “Now we have to resolve to make 2020 the year in which we will eradicate polio from the province by ensuring effective and coordinated efforts, otherwise our future generations, if allowed to suffer from crippling disease, would not pardon us.”

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Dr Azra Pechuho, Syed Nasir Shah, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shahalwani, LG Secretary Roshan Shaikh, Secretary Health Zahid Abbasi, all deputy commissioners of the provincial capital, while all the commissioners and deputy commissioners of the province joined the meeting through a video link.

The chief minister was told that out of 134 cases of polio reported from all over Pakistan during 2019, 24 were reported in Sindh, 11 in Balochistan, eight in Punjab and 91 in Khyber Pakhunkhwa (KP), while out of 24 cases reported in Sindh, six were detected in Karachi while 11 from other divisions.

The chief minister said that since several cases had been reported from Karachi; therefore the health department and its concerned wings would have to focus on the city by segregating the areas so that their environmental samples could be made negative.

It may be noted here that Gadap Town, Gulshan Town, Baldia Town, SITE Town, Korangi, Liaquat Town and Saddar Town had remained positive throughout 2019 as far as the environmental samples were concerned.

Similarly, Sukkur, Jacobabad, Hyderabad, Dadu and Kambar-Shahdadkot have also remained positive.

Emergency Operation Centre (EOC)  In-charge Rehan Baloch informed the chief minister that there was a target of administering polio vaccine to 9,076,523 children in the province, including 2293687 in Karachi, 2160552 in Hyderabad, 1514246 in Larkana, 785475 in Mirpurkhas, 1093139 in Shaheed Benazirabad and 1229424 in Sukkur.

He said due to special efforts, this time the coverage remained 100% all over Sindh. He disclosed that 82.1 percent children who were left out initially had been also covered and still 295704 children were remaining.

The chief minister directed EOC in-charge to ensure that not a single child was left out of the campaign. He directed him to send special teams to the homes of those children who missed polio vaccine so that they could be covered.

The chief minister was told that 95% coverage had been achieved in seven days of December 2019 in Karachi and 100 percent in other divisions of the province.

The chief minister directed the EOC in-charge to coordinate with all the deputy commissioners on Skype so that the coverage could be made more effective.

The CM also directed all the commissioners and deputy commissioners to submit to him report of all their talukas/tehsils about the performance of polio teams.

The chief minister directed the minister for local government to make local bodies more effective so that they could keep localities neat and clean in order to control the polio virus.

He also issued directive to the deputy commissioners to keep their cities and water bodies neat and clean.

The chief minister also directed EOC to improve case response in 2020. He added that in rural areas of the province, 782 union councils were those where environmental samples had been found positive, and these must be focused.