Pakistan to start polio vaccination campaign in 39 districts

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Islamabad, Feb 12 (IANS) A polio vaccination campaign is set to kick off from Monday in 39 districts of Pakistan to vaccinate more than 6 million children under the age of five, the Pakistani Health Ministry said.

The five-day polio drive has been primarily initiated after sewage samples in the country’s eastern Lahore city tested positive for wild poliovirus last month, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by the ministry.

The campaign would begin in full across nine districts, including the seven endemic districts in the southern part of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and two districts of eastern Punjab province, the statement said.

Partial campaigns would be conducted in the remaining 30 districts, during which the children will be vaccinated, it added.

The first positive sample of 2023 was detected on January 19 and was found genetically linked to the poliovirus detected in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province in November 2022, the ministry said, adding that this was the first evidence of cross-border transmission of the virus in more than a year.

The second positive sample was reported on January 27, which was genetically linked to a virus circulating in southern KP, according to the ministry.

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