Head of the Punjab Emergency Operations Centre Khizer Afzaal has asked district health authorities to come up with a comprehensive plan to bridge data quality gaps so that corrective measures can be taken before the next national polio immunisation drive resumes. He was chairing a post-campaign review meeting on Monday.
According to a statement, District Health Management Teams including the chief executive officers of 36 districts of Punjab discussed health-related matters in a virtual meeting.
The staff of international polio eradication partners also participated in the meeting. The EOC head highlighted the need to focus on updating the micro plans in the aftermath of the return of Afghan refugees to their homes.
“To avoid the incidence of missed children, Afghan population settlements must be updated in micro plans. Districts need to ensure that micro plans are prepared and submitted on time”, the EOC emphasised. The head of the polio eradication programme in Punjab acknowledged that although Punjab had achieved more than 100 per cent coverage in the last two campaigns, a lot needs to be achieved in Lahore.
He directed the district administrations to encourage polio teams to report accurate data so that data misreporting is discouraged. Khizer Afzaal highlighted the risk of the virus spread in megacities and suggested that the next NID is held in the context of the virus spread.
“To stop virus spread and reduce immunity gaps, districts needed to focus on coverage of all children by reducing the percentage of missed children”. The EOC head laid special focus on controlling vaccine wastage and directed the district authorities to come up with data on vaccine usage in the last three rounds.
He directed the districts to lay special emphasis on the pre-campaign phase in union councils that are frequently showing unsatisfactory results in micro plan assessments and Lot Quality Assurance Sampling.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th2023.