KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the eradication of polio has become a big challenge for the provincial government. He has directed his team to take it as a challenge afresh for which a new strategy, capacity building and registration of cases against refusal would be initiated.

He took this decision on Wednesday while presiding over the provincial Taskforce for Polio Eradication here at the CM House.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, IG Police Dr Kaleem Imam, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, provincial secretaries of Home, education, Health, Finance, all divisional commissioners, representative of federal government Dr Malik M Shafi, MR Tim Peterson of BMGF Seattle, John Agbor of Unicef, Dr Abdi of WHO, Aziz Memon of Rotary International and various others.

The chief minister said that Pakistan and Afghanistan the only countries in the world where polio cases were still emerging. He added that Pakistan has 24 cases and Afghanistan has eight cases. “In Sindh three cases have emerged during 2019 which is quite painful for me because last year, 2018, we had only one case in Sindh and two cases in 2017,” he said and added “this shows that the number of polio cases are increasing instead of declining,” he said.

Shah said that the provincial government and its technical team must make itself accountable for increasing the polio cases. “Where we have failed or our efforts have failed to produce results,” he said.

The chief minister was told that in Pakistan there were 24 polio cases, of them three in Sindh including one in Larkana and two in Karachi, three in Punjab, 12 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and six in tribal area of KPK.

Virus detected at 11 areas in Karachi

It may be noted that Safia of Lyari, Fiza of Larkana and Abdul Nisar of Gulshan-i-Iqbal were diagnosed as polio cases in February and April 2019, respectively.

It was disclosed in the meeting that polio virus have been detected at 11 different areas of Karachi which include Sohrab Goth, Machhar Colony, Khamiso Goth of Gadap, Chakro Nala, Rashid Minhas Road, Mohammad Khan Colony, Bakhtawar Village, Orangi Nala, Korangi Nala, Haji Mureed Goth and Hijrat Colony. The polio virus was detected through environmental surveillance.

In rural areas of the province polio virus has been detected in New Sukkur, Hyderabad and Dadu. At this the chief minister expressing his displeasure said that from 2015 to March 2019 Dadu had been cleared from polio virous and now again emergence of the various must be inefficiency of the concerned officers.

The chief minister directed the chief secretary to take disciplinary action against the officers, including the concerned deputy commissioners where polio virus has been unearthed. “What our DCs, DHOs, polio eradication teams, DHOs and other concerned local bodies officers are doing in their areas that polio virus was emerging there,” he said and decided to issue show-cause notice of DCS and other concerned officers for their failure to control polio from their area.

The meeting was told that polio vaccine was administered to 203,733 children in Karachi and still 251,806 were still missing. At this the chief minister expressed his displeasure and directed the polio teams to register cases against the parents who refuse to give polio vaccine to their children and take actions accordingly. He issued such instructions to IG police to pass on his directives to the police stations. These cases would be registered on the complaint of the polio teams of the area.

It was also noted that in the divisions of Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas, Larkana and Sukkur no child was missing from polio vaccine except Hyderabad where only 5827 children were missing. The chief minister directed polio teams to start an exclusive drive for missing children.