Progress on po­lio erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme re­viewed

Pakistan Observer - - TWIN CITIES - 03:45 01:30 05:30 09:15 Sem­i­nar STAFF RE­PORTER

In­sti­tute for Pol­icy Re­forms will hold a sem­i­nar on “Is Pak­istan Iso­lated? Re­gional Chal­lenges and Op­por­tu­ni­ties”. The event will be held at 4:30 pm, 28th June at Com­stech Sect, 33 Con­sti­tu­tion Av­enue, G-5/2 Is­lam­abad. IS­LAM­ABAD—Min­is­ter for Na­tional Health Ser­vices, Reg­u­la­tions and Co­or­di­na­tion (NHSRC), Saira Afzal Tarar on Thurs­day re­viewed the progress of po­lio erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme dur­ing the just con­cluded low trans­mis­sion sea­son. Co­or­di­na­tor of the Na­tional Emer­gency Op­er­a­tion Cen­tre (NEOC), Dr. Saf­dar briefed the par­tic­i­pants on pro­gram progress and also shared ob­sta­cles and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The sup­port to the ‘One Team led by the Gov­ern­ment’ work­ing un­der net­work of emer­gency op­er­a­tion cen­tres provided by the gov­ern­ment func­tionar­ies as well as the global part­ner­ship at all lev­els was un­prece­dented and one ma­jor fac­tor be­hind the turn­around seen in 2015 and 2016, he said.

Shar­ing con­tin­ued de­cline in case count and pro­por­tion of pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal sam­ples, the co­or­di­na­tor paid rich trib­ute to the coun­try team and front­line work­ers for vac­ci­nat­ing 280 mil­lion chil­dren dur­ing nine cam­paign con­ducted in the low trans­mis­sion sea­son.

The suc­cess­ful IPV-OPV cam­paigns in tar­geted high risk ar­eas of Karachi, Khy­ber Pe­shawar and Quetta block helped in quick im­mu­nity boost­ing of ap­prox­i­mately three mil­lion vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren.

The com­mu­nity based vac­ci­na­tion and health camps helped in en­hanc­ing com­mu­nity own­er­ship of the pro­gramme in­ter­ven­tions. The meet­ing was also ap­prised of the re­main­ing chal­lenges faced by the pro­gramme in Karachi, north Sindh and south­ern KP. An alert was also raised re­gard­ing cam­paign qual­ity is­sues in Afghanistan ar­eas bor­der­ing FATA, Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa and Quetta block.

Ad­dress­ing pro­gram­matic gaps in these ar­eas dur­ing next few weeks would de­ter­mine the suc­cess of the pro­gramme to in­ter­rupt po­lio virus dur­ing 2016, the na­tional co­or­di­na­tor said.

Saira Afzal Tarar ap­pre­ci­ated the role of the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments as well as part­ners and termed in­ter­rup­tion of po­lio virus in 2016 as the top most pri­or­ity of the min­istry.

The min­is­ter was par­tic­u­larly ap­pre­cia­tive of the role of the Sec­re­tary NHSRC, EOC co­or­di­na­tors, Chief Sec­re­tary Balochis­tan, Ad­di­tional Chief Sec­re­tary FATA as well as the Com­mis­sion­ers of Karachi, Pe­shawar and Quetta for work­ing with a mis­sion­ary zeal for this na­tional cause. She con­grat­u­lated pro­gram and part­ner­ship on huge suc­cess of the com­mu­nity based vac­ci­na­tion ini­tia­tive in var­i­ous prov­inces and urged its ex­pan­sion in all core reser­voir ar­eas. The min­is­ter how­ever, showed her con­cern on sub­op­ti­mal cam­paign qual­ity ob­served dur­ing last low trans­mis­sion sea­sons in north Sindh and Is­lam­abad. “Our goal of virus in­ter­rup­tion is in­sight and no lax­ity can be tol­er­ated to miss this his­toric op­por­tu­nity,” she re­marked. She said, Pak­istan and Afghanistan are the only two last re­main­ing coun­tries with po­lio. Pak­istan has re­ported 12 wild po­lio cases in 2016 against 28 re­ported in 2015 till same date.

June 28

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