Demand for polio vaccination certificate rising


KARACHI: Acquisition of polio vaccination certificate has been made mandatory for Pakistanis to travel abroad, besides ‘work load’ of issuing International Certificate of Vaccination is also increasing.
June 1, 2014 is the day after which no one can travel from Pakistan abroad without having polio vaccination certificate, said officials.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has imposed restrictions on Pakistan after identifying it as one of three countries, along with Cameroon and Syria, at risk of further spreading poliovirus to the rest of the world.
On daily basis we are already vaccinating around 3,500 passengers at Karachi Jinnah Terminal. Hospitals are sending people to airport that is adding workload on us, said Dr Anwar-ul-Haque Airport Health Officer at Karachi Airport.
The load would definitely increase after June 1, he said. The federal government has not started logistic support yet. Sindh government has also stopped the supply of vaccination, Dr Anwar added.
In the response Extended Programme on Immunisation (EPI) Project Director Dr Mazhar Khamisani said the prime responsibility of provision of vaccination lies on centre. “It is centre’s responsibility to provide vaccination. We provided them vaccination on ‘loan basis’, but since we are running out of stock we had stopped it,” said Mazhar.
Sindh government has established ‘Polio Vaccination Countre for international travelers at departure lounge Jinnah Terminal that brings the tally of booths to two at Airport.
Passengers at Karachi Airport looked confused over the lack of information regarding the issue. “I went to Teen Talwar, Agha Khan Hospital, Jinnah Hospital and Hilal-e-Ahmar on same day before coming here to seek the International Certificate of Vaccination,” said Benedict Benjamin who was to depart for Dubai on Wednesday (today). “Thing are not clear. Even at some places the people are charging,” said a Drigh Road resident.
Another passenger Mrs Sumera Rauf said she planned to move to US on June 11. My husband from US is insisting me to seek information and get vaccinated on time. However there is no proper information for the travelers, she said.
From Hassan Square I went to Civil Hospital before coming here. A final year medical student Fatima was the next one. “There is inconveniency, she said. From Karsaz I went to Jinnah and Civil hospitals to seek the certificate but they send me here, said Fatima who would depart for UK.
However, irrelevant to subject was polio vaccinator Anam Saleem who works at regular polio vaccination counter established for kids was more worried about her salary increase. When would authorities increase our wages and bring equal to our other colleagues, she asked. Our colleagues working outside airport are getting Rs 500 per day while we are getting half of the amount only, she said.
In other parts of Sindh, immunisation of polio is going on. Thatta district health officer (DHO) Dr Zahoor Ahmed Memon confirmed the availability of vaccination stocks. “We have enough stock. So far we have provided around 20 certificates after checking all the formalities, he added.

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