Health minister directs strict accountability, stringent monitoring to meet remaining challenges in polio eradication
Islamabad, February 15, 2017 - Chairing a high level review meeting on polio emergency here today Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar directed to ensure strict accountability and maintain stringent monitoring to meet remaining challenges in polio eradication.
“We must build on success achieved hencefar by maintaining stringent monitoring and making everyone associated with the program accountable”, said the Minister.
Pakistan has come a long way in this initiative and under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif we have achieved major turnaround in polio situation that has won its applause the world over added the Minister.
By the grace of Allah Almighty this Government has met every challenge with courage, determination and a strong political will, added the Minister.
The Minister noted with satisfaction that there was not only a sharp decline in polio cases but the environmental samples had been increasingly reported negative – from 38 percent positive samples to 12 percent positive this year.
“Pakistan Army has played an excellent role in providing security and access to the polio teams for which they deserve our tribute” said the Minister.
She said our priority should be areas reporting persistent virus circulation. To this end, the Minister said she will personally undertake visits to the Provinces to meet Provincial leadership and address challenges in areas of concern.
Reiterating fullest commitment of the federal Government to the Provinces and Areas in the fight against Polio, the Minister directed that Rapid Response teams comprising top level polio experts be dispatched on urgent basis wherever in the country there is a challenge to the polio program.
Saira Afzal Tarar directed that efforts be redoubled to improve synergy of polio eradication program with country’s routine immunization program so that immunity level of the communities is enhanced and gains made by polio campaigns are sustained.
The high level meeting was attended by Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, who highlighted the nation-wide efforts to stop poliovirus transmission.
Senior officers of Ministry of National Health Services including Secretary Muhammad Ayub Shaikh, Director General Health Dr. Assad Hafeez and representative of Pakistan Army participated in the meeting. Representatives of leading international agencies including WHO and UNICEF also attended the meeting.
Earlier a detailed briefing was given on progress of polio eradication by Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, National Coordinator, Polio Emergency in Pakistan.