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Inquiry Committee Recommends Action Against Those Who Faked Childrens’ Illness In Peshawar

The Inquiry Committee constituted to probe incident against Anti-Polio Drive in suburbs of Peshawar found that the owners of some private schools, religious leaders, local community leaders played a very negative role in spreading the rumors, threatening, abusing and harassing the health staff, instigating the public to damage the health facilities and government properties.

The three-page Inquiry Committee recommended strict action against owners of private schools and all those who instigated the public to take law in hands. It is also recommended that FIA be approached to take necessary action against irresponsible social media operators so that such rumors could effectively be tackled.

The incident was started from Union Councils of Sheikhan, Badaber, Urmar Bala, Mera Kachori, Pishtakhara, Tehkal Payan, Pelosi, Hassan Garhi, Takhtabad, Khazana, Rashid Ghari, and Rasheed Abad. About 40,000 children were brought to the nearby hospitals of Peshawar. Only LRH received the most number of children i.e. 18000.

The four-member Inquiry Committee consisted of Dr. Shahzad Faisal, Dr. Muhammad Saleem, Dr. Muhammad Arshad and headed by Additional Secretary Health Ahmed Zeb.

All children were sent home in stable condition, while some children were kept for observation on the insistence of the parents. Not a single child was kept for overnight stay. The rumors started spreading on the social media created pandemonium in and around Peshawar erupting in panic like situation.

An angry mob in Sheikhan set a basic health unit on fire in Mashokhel and attempts were also made to beat the staff who took refuge in a government school. Coordinator EPI and Tehseel Supervisor also received threatening calls.

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Two quacks in UC Urmar Bala namely Misal Shah and Javed also spread rumors among the general public. The sirens of Rescue 1122, Edhi and Chippa caused further panic and chaos.

“For the Polio campaign started on 22 April 2019, nine different batches of vaccine were provided to KP and the same were provided in good condition to all districts of KP. The vaccine was in good condition and the cold chain was properly maintained 91,840 polio vaccine vials were received for this campaign by district Peshawar and the vaccine vial monitor of all these vaccines was in stage-1.”

It has also stated that the Government collectively responded to the situation in a very organized and professional manner. Regularization of mosques announcements and formulations of SOPs for Imam of mosques to avert such a situation in the future as mosques were used in this particular case to create chaos and harassment in the general public.

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