The week-long polio vaccination drive in the Khyber district of Peshawar division has resumed after a security boycott by police authorities came to an end. The campaign had been abruptly halted on August 7th when a significant number of Khyber police personnel withdrew security support, demanding equal service conditions as the rest of the province.
After extensive negotiations, the police decided to end their boycott, allowing the polio vaccination campaign to restart on August 15th. Health authorities are ensuring a strong push to vaccinate children under five years of age, with security assurance from the local police.
The campaign involves 965 health teams tasked with administering polio drops to around 195,716 children. A new approach has been adopted to enhance the campaign’s effectiveness: a fractional dose of inactivated poliovirus (IPV) vaccine is being given to four-month-old children. This strategy, which has shown positive results in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is supplemented by traditional methods like oral polio vaccination (OPV) and injectable polio vaccine (IPV) for children both below and above four months of age.
The Communication Officer of the Polio Eradication Program, Afzal Shinwari, is optimistic about the campaign’s success. Mobilization efforts have focused on raising awareness within communities, engaging youth, tribal leaders, religious figures, and influencers. This proactive approach has led to increased public cooperation, with parents bringing their children for vaccination willingly.
As the campaign progresses, the local police, led by SP Investigation Zia Hussain, have strengthened security measures to ensure smooth operations and prevent disruptions. Stringent checks at district entry and exit points, along with enhanced security for vaccination teams, have become a top priority for the police.
With the collaboration of health authorities, police, and community influencers, the ongoing campaign is expected to yield positive outcomes and contribute to the continuous efforts to eradicate polio from the region.