A five-day campaign against polio will be launched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from August 6, the provincial health ministry said Friday.
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling childhood disease caused by the polio virus, and preventable through immunisation. Affecting mostly children under the age of five, polio which has no cure and can only be prevented by giving a child multiple vaccine doses can lead to irreversible paralysis.
The anti-polio campaign will target 16 high-risk districts, with the target of administering polio vaccine to 36, 27,000 minors.
In Peshawar city alone, KP's health ministry aims to administer the vaccine to 816,000 minors.
A total of 13 teams have been formed to execute the campaign.
The inauguration ceremony of the anti-polio campaign took place at the Naseerullah Khan Babar Memorial Hospital.
The event was attended by Deputy Medical Superintendent Dr Abdul Rauf Khattak, heart specialists, and other government officers.
Yesterday, the Department of Health Punjab confirmed presence of the polio virus in the city’s sewerage water after testing samples collected from Outfall Road on July 11.
The virus was also found in the sewage samples gathered earlier in June.
Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, that suffers from endemic polio, a virus that can cause paralysis or death.
The country continues to battle polio for the past several years and is close to completely eradicating the disease.
The number of cases declined from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and eight in 2017.
In 2018, three polio cases have so far been reported – all from Balochistan.
A country must have no cases for three consecutive years in order to be considered to have eradicated polio by the World Health Organisation.
According to the WHO, the number of polio cases worldwide has fallen by more than 99 per cent since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases then to 22 reported cases in 2017.