LAKKI MARWAT - Despite hectic efforts and even having the support of other stakeholders, the district health department could not cover all the refusal cases during the previous polio eradication campaign in the last month.

“During the three-day drive in March, parents of 2,546 children below the age of five years were found reluctant to immunise their kids against polio,” said an official source on Sunday. He said that the highest number of refusal cases was alarming, making the health officials and other stakeholders to deeply ponder over the situation and devise a strategy to cover them at all costs.

It is also interesting to note that 11,282 children were recorded by polio teams as ‘unavailable’ in March drive. Out of which, 1,272 and 8,562 were covered during the three-day campaign and catch up activity respectively. However, 1,498 not available kids could not be vaccinated against the crippling disease in previous campaign.

“After covering 192 refusal cases in the three-day drive, the officials concerned did not lose heart and launched a catch up activity to ensure coverage of remaining refusal cases,” he maintained.  He said that seriousness of the health officials to cover refusal cases could be judged from the fact that they with the help of district administration involved the heads of line departments, members of national research and development foundation’s core committee and other quarters concerned in anti polio drive.

He said that WHO representatives also activated teachers, volunteers and workers of civic organizations to help health employees achieve the target of covering refusal cases successfully. “The catch up activity was launched soon after the three-day campaign and the authorities succeeded to ensure coverage of 1164 more refusal cases taking up the number of refusal cases covered to 1356,” he said.

The official, however, said that 1190 kids under the age of five years could not be administered oral polio vaccines in the previous campaign despite making efforts and using all available resources. “Keeping the high number of refusal cases in consideration, the health officials and other stakeholders are planned to take special measures to ensure coverage of all such cases in the upcoming anti-polio drive commencing from April 23,” he added.