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Polio vaccination become mandatory for foreign-bound Pakistani travellers

Polio vaccination become mandatory for foreign-bound Pakistani travellers

poliooPolio vaccination certificates have become mandatory for travellers from Pakistan to foreign countries from Sunday.

According to Ministry of Health Services, provinces have been issued one million health certificates and district health officers, medical superintendents and EDO health are authorised officers for issuing polio certificates.

Polio counters have been setup at all the major government hospitals and airports. At airports officials from the Civil Aviation Authority and Health Ministry are authorised to issue vaccination certificates. It is mandatory to carry passports and present them at polio counters.
In Islamabad, polio cells have been formed at PIMS and Polyclinic hospitals.

Special counters have been setup at three airports of Balochistan for polio vaccination of Pakistanis planning to travel abroad.

The polio vaccination counters have been set up at Quetta, Gwadar and Turbat airports.

In a statement, the WHO said Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab Republic pose the greatest risk of further wild poliovirus exportations in 2014. The WHO recommended:

“These States should:

Officially declare, if not already done, at the level of head of state or government, that the interruption of poliovirus transmission is a national public health emergency;

Ensure that all residents and long-term visitors (i.e. > 4 weeks) receive a dose of OPV or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) between 4 weeks and 12 months prior to international travel;

ensure that those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within 4 weeks), who have not received a dose of OPV or IPV in the previous 4 weeks to 12 months, receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time of departure as this will still provide benefit, particularly for frequent travelers;

Ensure that such travelers are provided with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis in the form specified in Annex 6 of the International Health Regulations (2005) to record their polio vaccination and serve as proof of vaccination;

Maintain these measures until the following criteria have been met: (i) at least 6 months have passed without new exportations and (ii) there is documentation of full application of high quality eradication activities in all infected and high risk areas; in the absence of such documentation these measures should be maintained until at least 12 months have passed without new exportations.”

“Once a State has met the criteria to be assessed as no longer exporting wild poliovirus, it should continue to be considered as an infected State until such time as it has met the criteria to be removed from that category,” added the WHO statement.

Polio usually strikes children under five and is often spread via infected water. There is no specific treatment or cure, but several vaccines exist.

According to the WHO directives, all travelers from Pakistan will be required to produce a valid vaccination certificate at airports from June 1st.

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