Rotary Reaches Out to Remote Areas of South Balochistan

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Report by: Rtn Saleem Baloch – RC Turbat

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan in terms of area but the smallest in terms of population.The remote areas of Balochistan are hot and dusty, many lacking basic amenities like shelter, health care services and education. There are about 32 districts including Kech. Turbat and Buleda which are in Tehsils of Kech district, are located in Southern  Balochistan. Turbat is the capital of Kech district.

Buleda Tehsil is situated to the extreme of South of Balochistan, sharing its boundary with Iran. The area is poorly developed with no proper infrastructure.

PNPPC established a Resource Centre in Turbat and a Permanent Immunization Center in Buleda. The centers also serves as Permanent Transit Vaccination Post to cover routine immunization of children living in catchment area and facilitate in vaccination of children travelling across the border. Rtn. Saleem Baloch – RC Turbat’ monitors both these centers.

Health Camp inaugurated by Khawaja Salman Rafiq in Lahore

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Report by: Rtn. Saleem Ahmed Khan – Rotary Club Lahore Metropolitan, member PNPPC

 

In Pathan Colony, a High Risk Area of Lahore with an approx population of 49,000, of which 10,000 were targeted, a Health Camp conducted by UNICEF in close collaboration from Rotary, WHO, District Government EDO, DG Health and DHO was held on 14th May 2015. It was inaugurated by Health Adviser to the Chief Minister Punjab, Khawaja Salman Rafiq who expressed his deep gratitude to Rotary for their unflinching willingness to come forward and support all polio eradication activities. PDG M. Saeed Shamsi – Chief Zonal Coordinator Punjab and Felix Ivan Amezquita Ganaza – C4D UNICEF Punjab also attended while Rtn. Saleem Khan was the focal point on behalf of Rotary, and provided polio social mobilization material to the volunteers, parents and children at the camp.

Patients were checked for blood pressure and sugar, while 125 children under five years were given OPV, 9 BCG, 87 Panta Valent, 55 Measles and 23 TT to expecting mothers. In the next health camp Rtn. Saleem Khan committed the following medicines in bulk.a)  Syrup Co- Trimoxazole ( Septran) b) Syrup Amcommitted oxiciline  ( Amoxil)

Polio in Pakistan: Drop of 70% recorded this year

Polio eradication teams have for the first time in two years been able to reach areas previously controlled by militants opposed to vaccination programmes

Polio eradication teams have for the first time in two years been able to reach areas previously controlled by militants opposed to vaccination programmes

Polio cases in Pakistan have dropped by 70% this year as troops make territorial advances in the north against militants opposed to vaccination programmes, government officials have told the BBC.

They say that so far in 2015 there have been about 25 cases.

In October officials said that Pakistan had its highest number of cases for 15 years, mostly due to militant attacks.

At that time they said there were more than 200 cases across the country.

The number in October exceeded the 199 cases in 2001 but was short of the 558 cases in 1999.

Most polio infections are in the north-western tribal region where militants have targeted health teams.

They accuse doctors of being spies and say the vaccinations are part of a Western plot to sterilise Muslims.

‘Army a great help’

 

Prime ministerial polio adviser Ayesha Raza said on Wednesday that while it had taken time to eradicate militancy in North Waziristan, the rewards from doing so were “already visible in the polio programme”.

Ms Raza told the BBC that polio samples from high-incidence zones – which used to be positive for months on end – were now testing negative again.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) had only reported seven cases so far this year, she said, while Karachi had reported none.

“The army has been a great help in both these areas,” Ms Raza said.

“With their help, and with the help of funding from the United Arab Emirates, we have been able to extend immunisation drives to high-risk areas.

Only seven cases of polio have been recorded in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) so far this year, officials say

Only seven cases of polio have been recorded in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) so far this year, officials say

“We got access to populations in Waziristan after more than two years. We have also now penetrated some formerly no-go zones in Karachi.”

Officials say that in recent months there has also been a clear decline in the number of attacks on polio teams. A number of men involved in such attacks have been arrested.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that while Pakistan is celebrating the latest figures, the two other counties in the world where polio is endemic have done equally well if not better.

Nigeria has reported no new cases this year, and Afghanistan has only reported one.

Our correspondent says that a major chunk of the North Waziristan population who lived under a militant-imposed vaccination ban for several years have now been vaccinated several times over along with their children.

Report Appeared on BBC Website’s in Asia Section: Dated June 04, 2015.

Polio session at Rotary District Conference 3271 (8 – 10 May 2015)

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A polio session at the Rotary 3271 Discon was held on 10th May 2015 at the Karachi, Movenpick Hotel. The aim was to provide polio updates and create greater awareness on the current polio status in Pakistan at the Provincial and Federal levels. The session chaired by Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Coordinator Oversight Committee on Health in Sindh. Begum Wazir Ali spoke on initiatives by the Government assured the august gathering that they are monitoring all activities closely for optimal coverage.

Aidan O’Leary – Polio Team Lead UNICEF Islamabad gave a short presentation on “Social Mobilization Strategies and Advocacy”. It aimed at;

1) Strengthening Emergency Operations Centre structures and systems at all levels.
2) Shift the polio eradication paradigm from “children covered” to “continuously missed
children” and place.
3) Place front line workers at the centre of the polio eradication effort”.

He also spoke on an enabling environment of the care givers supporting OPV and the perception of community support and concluded by saying “Regardless of Scenario, Every Vaccination Campaign Comes down To a Single, Critical Touch Point: A Short Personal Interaction With A Vaccinator: Their Success is Our Success”.

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Dr. Keith Feldon – WHO compared polio cases in Pakistan during the year 2014 and 2015. He said, remarkable progress has been made during current low transmission season and integrated planning through EOCs showed more positive results enabling polio partners to plan strategies in a more effective way.

Haji Mohammed Hanif Tayyab – Chair, Polio Ulema Committee, PPPC said Ulemas are instrumental in convincing people of the misconceptions and myths of polio vaccine and bringing down refusals. They mobilize communities through mosques and madrassa. The basic theme of holding workshops is to bring all religious leaders from different sects on one platform.

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Dr. Altaf Bosan – National Technical Consultant, National Polio Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Islamabad, thanked Rotary for their unwavering support in Pakistan. He said that the EOC is established in line with the International Monitoring Board (IMB) which stressed that all activities must have one theme, one umbrella under one person, at the Central and Provincial level. Effort in every way on part of the government is made to stop transmission by end of 2015.

Dr. Muhammed Usman Chachar, Coordinator EOC Sindh, stressed that all polio partners must plan strategies and resources together. He mentioned that regular meetings in EOC are taking place with significant improvement in the progress and resolving of issues on time. The timely decisions are facilitating working of all polio partners especially in Super High Risk Union Councils. He thanked Rotary, UNICEF, WHO and other stakeholders for joining hands with EOC Sindh.

National Chair Aziz Memon concluded the findings and way forward. He highlighted Rotary’s Pakistan National Polio Plus Committees contribution in Pakistan in the form of PTPs, PICs, Resource Centers, Cell phone monitoring project involving CMWs, partnership with Coca Cola in the RO Filtration plant, Speaking Book project, advocacy and awareness in workshops with Ulema’s, students and civil society and holding Health camps in many deserving and needy areas.

At the end mementos were presented to the panelists by District Governor Shahbaz Qureshi and RIPR Anirudha Roy Chowdhury.

Report by: Asher Ali, Project Manager, PNPPC

Pakistan’s campaign against militants curbs another menace: Polio

Reported in LA Times Zulfiqar Ali and Shashank Bengali on June 01, 2015

A health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 20. Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic. (K.M. Chaudary / Associated Press)

A health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 20. Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic. (K.M. Chaudary / Associated Press)

The Pakistani army’s nearly yearlong campaign against Islamist militants in the northern tribal belt has its skeptics, but one area where experts say its effect has been unmistakable is in battling polio.

Six cases have been reported this year in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, down from 56 in the same period last year. In October, a quarter-million children could not be reached by vaccination teams; the number dropped to 47,000 by May.

Volunteers carry an injured polio-vaccination worker to a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, on Nov. 26 after gunmen attacked a vaccination team, killing four. (Arshad Butt / Associated Press)

Volunteers carry an injured polio-vaccination worker to a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, on Nov. 26 after gunmen attacked a vaccination team, killing four. (Arshad Butt / Associated Press)

Health authorities and relief officials credit improved security in the tribal areas since an army offensive against the Pakistani Taliban, which opposes polio vaccinations because it alleges they are a cover for Western espionage. In past years, militants routinely attacked health workers carrying out vaccination drives, along with their security teams, killing dozens.

The army provided advance warning of the offensive, which began last June, allowing residents as well as militants time to flee the tribal belt. As people have returned to towns and villages cleared by army operations, vaccination teams have resumed their work with greater access to areas once seen as off-limits.

“Pakistan has done remarkably well this year because the areas are now being cleared of militants and accessibility has become easier,” said Aziz Memon, chairman of Rotary International’s PolioPlus program in Pakistan.