Punjab has become the first polio-free province in the country today after all its environmental samples tested negative.
The samples were taken from the sewage water of various cities, including Lahore.
Announcing the development, the provincial Chief Minister, Sardar Usman Buzdar, called it a ‘big achievement’ and a ‘positive outcome of teamwork’.
He commended the efforts of the provincial health department and the anti-polio teams, and said that “It could not have been possible without their hard work”.
CM Buzdar also mentioned that the anti-polio drive will continue across the province to immunize children of up to five years of age “to save them from disabilities”.
He stressed that the anti-polio vaccination is necessary to safeguard children from the life-threatening disease, and added that “children in Punjab are being administered anti-polio drops alongside the vaccination of measles and rubella”.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Dr. Faisal Sultan, had said in October that Pakistan is close to eradicating polio.
He had said during a meeting with a delegation of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Program that polio surveillance has been improved manifold and the virus has been controlled with the best strategy.
“We should not lose this golden opportunity, and defeat the virus,” he remarked.
The poliovirus usually affects children under five, and can sometimes lead to irreversible paralysis. It has been eradicated all over the world, except in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Africa was declared free of wild polio last August.