Islamabad, September 01, 2015 - With the biggest challenge faced by the polio programme —insecurity and inaccessibility — addressed with the support of the armed forces and 82 per cent reduction in polio cases, Pakistan is close to achieve the target of zero transmission of the poliovirus.

Prime Minister’s Focal Person Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq informed this to Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden in a meeting here at Prime Minister’s office yesterday. The senator assured the Canadian high commissioner that Pakistan is on track to defeat polio. The key issue of accessibility that was the single major impediment to fight polio has been effectively addressed through decisive action and innovative solutions, besides ensuring security strategy was in sync with operational strategy in sensitive areas, said Ayesha Raza Farooq.

She said that the biggest challenge faced by the programme was insecurity and inaccessibility. “With the success of operation Zarb-e-Azb and support provided by the armed forces in implementation of the campaign, that particular challenge is clearly behind us now. And there is no reason why should we not achieve the target of zero transmission of the poliovirus.”In the backdrop of targeting of polio workers that finds no precedent elsewhere in the world, security has received the greatest attention, she said. With improved monitoring and coordination by the federal government there has been a marked improvement in campaign coverage with 82 percent reduction in polio cases and poliovirus disappearing from environmental samples. There was enhanced focus on missed children with establishment of data support centres to track missed children in 554 high risk union councils.Ayesha Raza Farooq acknowledged the support extended by the Canadian government. 

The Canadian government has given grant for the years 2013-2017 to Polio Plus initiative in Pakistan through UNICEF, which seeks polio eradication by increasing coverage, access and the effectiveness of the vaccine.