Former national coordinator for polio programme reappointed

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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza has reappointed Dr Rana Safdar as the polio coordinator for National Emergency Operation Centre (EOC).

“I have reappointed Dr Safdar, who is a notable public health expert and epidemiologist specialising in disease control and eradication. I have recently witnessed his high tech competence and leadership in dengue control,” he said in a tweet.

He said Dr Safdar was the pioneer of national EOCs network and instrumental in tackling the explosive polio outbreak in 2014. He reduced the cases from 306 in 2014 to just eight in 2018.

“He recently led the global accreditation of Pakistan Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, Dr Safdar said he had left the EOC due to unavoidable circumstances but once again he had been given an opportunity to work with the polio programme.

“I will give full confidence to the entire team that as we had controlled poliovirus in the past we can do it again,” he said.

During the current year, 80 polio cases have been reported from across the country. However, 12 cases were reported in 2018 and only eight cases in 2017.

During the current year, 59 cases have been reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, nine cases from Sindh, seven from Balochistan and five cases from Punjab.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2019

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