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Pakistan: Government working on comprehensive policy to deal polio | BOL NETWORK.

[09th March, 2020] Syed Umarullah Hussaini, Web Editor, writes:

Health Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Zafar Mirza on Monday said government working on comprehensive policy to deal polio.

Health Special Assistant chaired a meeting to review steps taken out to eradicate crippling disease of polio from the country.

Dr Zafar Mirza on Monday lauded role of media for making anti-polio drive successful.

Dr Zafar Mirza said the government is working on the comprehensive policy to deal polio.

He said the anti-polio drive remained successful in the month of February as compared to the December, last year.

“The government specially focusing the high-risk union councils of the country”, the SAPM on health said.

Dr Mirza further said the number of parents denying to administer anti-polio drops to their children, have saw a sharp decrease.

“Soon Pakistan will be made a polio-free state.”

The recently concluded anti-polio drive across Pakistan yielded more than expected results as 124,000 more children than the set target immunized during the country-wide campaign.

A five-day countrywide anti-polio drive immunized over 39.4 million children.

Around 2,65,000 anti-polio workers had participated in the drive across the country.

Earlier During a three-day visit to Pakistan, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UNSG) António Guterres, visited a kindergarten school in Lahore during the first nation-wide polio campaign of the year.

During this visit, the UNSG vaccinated three students with the polio vaccine.

The UNSG commented on the polio eradication efforts of the country, saying that,

“Polio is one of the few diseases we can eradicate in the world in the next few years.

This is a priority of the United Nations and I am extremely happy to see it is a clear priority for the Government of Pakistan.

My appeal to all leaders, religious leaders, community leaders, to fully support the Government of Pakistan and other governments around the world to make sure that we will be able to fully eradicate polio.”


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Susanne Rea, World’s Greatest Meal founder urges you not to yield in the fight against polio | Rotary GB & Ireland.

[March 5, 2020]

Susanne Rea is the Australian Rotarian who co-founded the polio fund-raiser, the World's Greatest Meal. She is currently in the UK visiting family and catching up with Rotarians keen to support her enterprise.

Dave King writes:

She is a 77-year-old Australian grandmother with the energy and dynamism of a woman a third of her age, and Susanne Rea shows no signs of stopping.

A survivor of polio as a child, Susanne is a restless soul with a drive to do just as it says on the tin – End Polio Now!

Susanne has flown over to London for the month to spend time with her family here, while husband Nauman is back home in Cairns. She plans to fly to Pakistan next month.

She was last there in December 2017, when Susanne and Nauman travelled to a small rural school close to the capital Islamabad as part of a polio immunisation visit.

“We were guests of Past President Nosherwan Khalil Khan and the Rotary Club of Rawalpindi, and we met at the corner of the GT Road at Rawat,” she recalled.

“The countryside is rural and peaceful with the occasional dwelling and mosque, until we came to a sprawling complex entered through a metal gate which revealed a school for 200 students.

“This was the former home of the head teacher, which now contains a collection of classrooms. It was mid-winter, and the children were sitting on the floor. Even some of the classes were held in the open air, with the children and teachers rugged up against the elements. One rather basic washroom services the complex.”

A survivor of polio as a child, Susanne is a restless soul with a drive to do just as it says on the tin – End Polio Now!

While giving polio drops at the school, along with Rawalpindi Rotarians and a World Health Organization Worker, Nauman and Susanne resolved to help the school.

With help from generous friends in Australia, they raised enough money to equip the rural school with furniture and books.

“Now we want to build a new school, or at least six extra classrooms and toilet blocks so the children are not exposed to the elements and their educational horizons are expanded,” she added.

While in the UK, Susanne is taking the opportunity to promote the ‘World’s Greatest Meal’ concept which was born six years ago while she was polio chair of Rotary District 9550 in Queensland, living a quiet retirement of reading books and gardening.

Joining forces with Mukesh Malhotra from Hounslow Rotary in London, Susanne’s motivation was to make an impact during her retirement.

That she has achieved by raising a total of $11 million for End Polio Now by simply inviting friends, groups and organisations, big and small, to hold a fund-raising meal.

It is a project which has changed her life completely.

She said: “It is my personal life challenge to assist with the funding of the end game of polio. To help achieve this, I have lived in the United Arab Emirates, Uganda and Pakistan, and have travelled to 47 countries for fund-raising.”

susanne

Susanne has raised a total of $11 million for End Polio Now by simply inviting friends, groups and organisations, big and small, to hold a fund-raising meal.

Susanne has gone to extreme lengths and put herself in danger to promote the polio message. In Pakistan, she travelled in disguise to speak to seven Rotary clubs in the basement of a boys’ school in Peshawar.

“I have been down back alleys and into market places and bus stations seeing the reality of life,” she reflected. “The poverty, the bad drainage, the malnutrition, the migration.

“I have seen the pure efforts of Rotarians on a personal basis, and those polio-affected people who travel to villages to beg parents to vaccinate their children, and not let them risk being paralysed.”

What cannot be denied is that after nearly 6,000 World Greatest Meal events in 82 countries, the $11 million raised – supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – has enabled for 18 million polio vaccines to be bought.

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However, the big question Susanne is constantly asked is when will polio be finally eradicated. Just two countries remain affected by polio – Pakistan and Afghanistan – with Nigeria soon to be certified polio-free.

Susanne’s view is a pragmatic one. It’s not going to be solved as quickly as some might like to think – but it will one day.

She explained: “To eradicate polio was never going to be easy. For example, when I was in Uganda, I found that vaccines could not be delivered because fuel had been stolen from the vaccinator’s motorbike.

“In Zambia, they are faced with an influx of refugees which presents a problem with vaccine supply and a real shortage of injectable vaccine.

“I can choose where I go as a Rotarian. I am not a Rotary officer, so I have great freedom to go to the more challenging places around the world.

Susanne explained: “To eradicate polio was never going to be easy. For example, when I was in Uganda, I found that vaccines could not be delivered because fuel had been stolen from the vaccinator’s motorbike.

“When people say ‘we are this close to eradicating polio’, my question is are we ‘this close’? How can we know what is truly happening in Afghanistan.

“Regardless of the immense gains, the war is not won. We must persevere or it will mean thousands of paralysed children. Can we live with that as humans and Rotarians?

“I know that whilst I have breath, I will do what I can to help end polio, and that is why the World’s Greatest Meal to help End Polio Now has a place as a fund-raiser.

“It is simple because it is fun and because, as Rotarians, we owe it to the children of the world not to give up now when the hard yards have essentially be done over the past 30 years.

“I would urge Rotarians to continue to advocate, raise awareness, immunise, and fund-raise until we can truly say we are successful, and children everywhere do not have this polio virus waiting to strike the unsuspecting pool, malnourished, migrant, unvaccinated child to maim, or even kill.”

Susanne joined Rotary in 1994, then the only female in her club. She’s worked on projects to stop the trafficking of children as sex slaves and drug runners in Thailand, raised $130,000 to build homes close to a school to educate hill tribe children, and now the biggest project of all is to provide the funding and momentum towards finally getting rid of polio.

Learn more about the Worlds Greatest Meal Project here.


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Angola: Benguela plans to vaccinate over 456,000 children against polio | Agência AngolaPress.

[Sun, 08 Mar 2020]

Benguela - At least 456,325 children under five years of age will be vaccinated against polio, from 6 to 8 March, in nine municipalities of Benguela province, informed today (Saturday), the head of the Department of Local Public Health, Américo Daniel.

The second campaign phase complements the first, which took place in December 2019, and comes in response to the 10 cases of the disease recently reported in the province.

At least 4,545 vaccinators will be involved who will work in the municipalities of Benguela, Bocoio, Baía Farta, Catumbela, Chongoroi, Caimbambo, Cubal, Ganda and Lobito.

Balombo, the tenth municipality, is left out because it has already benefited from a second vaccination action in January this year.

Speaking to Angop, the doctor Américo Daniel said that this campaign arises mainly in response to the 10 cases notified at the end of last year, in the province.

From this number, Bocoio registered four cases, Cubal, two, Lobito municipality, one confirmed case, the same number for Baía Farta, Benguela and Ganda.

The municipalities of Catumbela, Chongoroi and Caimbambo will comply with the calendar, as a preventive measure against possible new cases.


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Philippines: Latest polio immunization drive boosts coverage in Davao Region to 99.4% | Manila Bulletin.

[March 9, 2020, 2:18 PM] Warren Elijah Valdez writes:

DAVAO CITY – The “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” has reached 99.4-percent total coverage after the latest immunization drive conducted on February 17 to March 6.

Reports from the Department of Health (DOH) revealed that a total of 572,642 children, aged zero to 59 months old, and residing in Davao Region, were already vaccinated with the oral polio vaccine type 2 (OPV2).

Davao City has the most number of children vaccinated with 196,575 in total. Davao del Norte vaccinated 124,323 children, Davao de Oro with 81,438 vaccinated children, Davao del Sur with 71,053 children, Davao Oriental with 66,275, and Davao Occidental with 32,850 vaccinated children in total.

Comparing the data bared by the DOH, the total number of children vaccinated during the January 20 to February 2 immunization drive also reached 572, 128 of the total, leaving only some 514 difference in terms of its total number. The percentage of this coverage is also 99.4 percent.

Speaking at the USAPang KALUSUGAN media forum Monday, DOH Regional Director Dr. Annabelle Yumang  urged parents, who have not yet submitted their children to vaccination, to cooperate and surrender their children to vaccinated.

“It is very much required for these kids to be vaccinated already. As of those who have not yet submitted their children to vaccination, please let your kids be vaccinated already, in this way we can prevent polio from being transmitted into their system,” she said.

Meanwhile, DOH Davao Center for Health Development extended their sincere gratitude and appreciation and lauded the efforts of all health workers, volunteers and partners who committed their full support during the polio immunization drive.

“To our bakuneros, you tirelessly braved the complex weather and walked the challenging terrains of your assigned area. To the local government units who volunteered the time and mobilized their resources in an effort to halt the Polio outbreak, to the overwhelming support of the media who ensured that correct information is relayed to the public, and to the rest of our partners to this campaign in one way or another, we acknowledged and appreciate all of you,” DOH said.

DOH also aims to sustain high vaccination accomplishment in the next round of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio that will commence on March 23 to April 5.

“This will be done by continuously working together, ensuring that all our children are protected from the crippling effects of Polio,” DOH also said.


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Pakistan: Frequent anti-polio campaigns causing rise in refusal cases | DAWN.

[March 09, 2020] Ashfaq Yusufzai writes:

PESHAWAR: Frequent anti-polio campaigns have been causing increase in refusal cases with people turning against the oral polio vaccine (OPV) after developing apprehensions as to why the government is concerned about a disease which causes only disability and doesn’t care about other dangerous ailments.

The third campaign, starting from Monday (today) within three-month time, is likely to see more refusals due to the public’s fatigue with health workers who continue to knock doors to inoculate children, a senior official, told Dawn.

He said that there were only 38,000 refusal cases in January which rose to 51,000 in February in Peshawar district, one of the virus reservoirs in the country. The fresh drive will see more refusals, he said.

According to him, there were clusters where they recorded 500 refusals because they were unable to explain to the people about the logic for frequent polio vaccination and as a result the programme had virtually become a failure despite 25 years of the campaign.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had recorded 92 of 146 cases countrywide in 2019. It has recorded 12 cases of the total 25 countrywide in 2020 and is in the limelight at the global level as far polio eradication is concerned.

EOC coordinator says campaigns planned scientifically.

Sources said that the UN agencies, including WHO and Unicef, spearheaded the Pakistan polio programme and schedule of the campaign without due regard for the local culture and issues.

“The workers have been putting their lives at stake to visit the hard areas. They are looked down upon by the parents,” they said.

To convince the people is the job of communication experts and those already working don’t have enough skills to explain to the parents that poliomyelitis is a disease which can be eradicated completely through administration of two drops of OPV to their children below five years of age.

In every campaign, the province records less than 100,000 refusals and vaccinate about six million children, but owing to poor communication the vicious circle continues, they said.

The sources said that the polio risk perception was very low in at the community level and people were of the belief that it wasn’t dangerous and as they did not have any repentance to let their children unimmunised.

A senior health official said that the government was helpless as the strategies were being made by people who didn’t know about local issues and as a result millions of dollars were spent, but without any success.

Sources said that about $1billion was being allocated for polio eradication in Pakistan from 2018 to 2021. They said that the amount also included loans and grants, but was spent through the UN.

They said that Pakistan was the only country with the UN-led anti-polio campaign as opposed to other countries where the government spearheaded the drive and the UN only provided technical support.

National Emergency Operation Centre, Islamabad, Coordinator Dr Rana Safdar said that the campaigns were planned scientifically to strategically benefit from vaccine maximally.

“The virus has been violent in 2019 and it is imperative to build immunity of our children quickly and before the summer sets in. We have three nationwide campaigns, two months apart (Dec, Feb and April).

He said that children residing in districts with the highest risk at present were provided additional opportunity in special response rounds that “we did in January and shall repeat in March”, he said.


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Insights From Modeling Preventive Supplemental Immunization Activities as a Strategy to Eliminate Wild Poliovirus Transmission in Pakistan and Afghanistan | Risk Analysis.

[Pay to View Full Text] [Manuscript received: 05 December 2019; Manuscript revised: 20 February 2020; Manuscript accepted: 26 February 2020; Version of Record online: 06 March 2020]

Abstract.

Many countries use supplemental immunization activities (SIAs) with oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) to keep their population immunity to transmission high using preventive, planned SIAs (pSIAs) and outbreaks response SIAs (oSIAs). Prior studies suggested that investment in pSIAs saved substantial health and financial costs due to avoided outbreaks. However, questions remain about the benefits of SIAs, particularly with the recent introduction of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) into routine immunization in all OPV-using countries. The mounting costs of polio eradication activities and the need to respond to oSIAs threatens the use of limited financial resources for pSIAs, including in the remaining countries with endemic transmission of serotype 1 wild poliovirus (WPV1) (i.e., Pakistan and Afghanistan). A recent updated global poliovirus transmission model suggested that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is not on track to stop transmission of WPV1 in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We use the updated global model to explore the role of pSIAs to achieve WPV1 eradication. We find that unless Pakistan and Afghanistan manage to increase the quality of bivalent OPV (bOPV) pSIAs, which we model as intensity (i.e., sufficiently high-coverage bOPV pSIAs that reach missed children), the model does not lead to successful eradication of WPV1. Achieving WPV1 eradication, the global objectives of the GPEI, and a successful polio endgame depend on effective and sufficient use of OPV. IPV use plays a negligible role in stopping transmission in Pakistan and Afghanistan and most other countries supported by the GPEI, and more IPV use will not help to stop transmission.


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Pakistan: Polio drive, ‘Under-21 Games’ keep law enforcers on their toes in Peshawar | Daily Times.

[MARCH 9, 2020] Shahid Khan writes:

Two major events taking place in the provincial capital and planned visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan today (Monday) have kept the law enforcement machinery on its toes. PM Imran Khan is expected to inaugurate one of the country’s biggest events, Under-21 Games, at the Peshawar Sports Complex, previously known Qayyum Stadium, in Saddar.

Also, a five-day polio campaign is beginning today in 16 districts of KP, including Peshawar. Capital City Police Officer DIG Muhammad Ali Gandapur told Daily Times that that over 5,000 personnel had been deployed for security measures. He said that staff had been deputed to ensure smooth flow of traffic, while ensuring security in Peshawar city, cantonment, and particularly in and around the sports complex. He said they had also secured the cycle race and marathon race tracks for the games and guarding the players and officials of the games, who have been staying at hotels and hostels of the sports directorate.

Similarly, special squads of the police would provide security to players and officials during their movement from their places of stay and the sports grounds.

“In addition to other barricades, we have set up an additional 22 nakabandis (barricades) in the nook and corner of Peshawar for security of the polio campaign and games while also focussing on eight different venues where sports activities are being held in the provincial metropolis,” said Ali Gandapur, who heads the Peshawar police. Also, chief minister’s special assistant on information Ajmal Wazir told media that over 23000 athletes in 32 games for men and 27 for women are taking part in the event. He added that KP U-21 Games were being held in three different phases, ie at tehsil, district and regional levels.

Meanwhile, AimalRiaz Khan from the Emergency Operation Center Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told this correspondent that more than 3.4 million children would be vaccinated in the 5-day campaign in 16 districts of the province. He added that the 16 districts are: Peshawar, Buner, DI Khan, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Karak, Hangu, Karak, Kohat, LakkiMarwat, Tank, Khyber, Bajaur, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan.

AimalKhan added that 12081 teams of polio workers have been formed for the campaign, including transit, fixed mobile and roaming teams.


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#SheInspiresUs: Polio-stricken health worker serves children in Chhattisgarh | ANI


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Polio patient in Dantewada serves as health worker combating challenges | ANI.

[Mar 08, 2020 22:41 IST]

Ganga Shandilya, health worker in Dantewada, speaking to ANI on Sunday. Photo/ANI
Ganga Shandilya, health worker in Dantewada, speaking to ANI on Sunday. Photo/ANI

Dantewada (Chhattisgarh) [India], Mar 8 (ANI): Ganga Shandilya, a polio patient, has dutifully played the role of a health worker for over 32 years in the remote villages of Dantewada.

As the world celebrates the efforts of women on International Women's Day, Shandilya, who has been working as a health worker in Sameli since 1988, said hers was not an easy journey.

"I was determined to become a health worker. When I was posted in Sameli, my first challenge here were Naxals, lEDs and spike holes. The second challenge for me was to cross the forest, drain, mountain to reach people," she said, adding, "However, these hurdles did not hold me back."

"As I lost the function of my left hand due to polio, I want every child in the area to be free of this disease," she added.

Ganga also said that earlier she had to take a bullock cart to visit these villages.

She is the first health worker in the area who has been working here since posting. (ANI)


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