Islamabad September 10, 2015 - Presiding over the National Task Force Meeting on Polio Eradication aimed at reviewing progress made in stopping the spread of Polio and reviewing the preparedness status of low transmission season Polio campaigns starting this month, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lauded the major success achieved in bringing down Polio cases from 306 last year to 32 so far this year and sharp reduction in presence of  poliovirus in sewage samples taken from the environment all over the country. All Chief Ministers Governor KP, PM AJK and Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal attended the meeting.

We are deeply encouraged by the appreciation of Pakistan’s performance in Polio Eradication by top international bodies on Polio Eradication said the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister commended the performance of the Chief Ministers and made special mention of the efforts of Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradicatio Ayesha Raza Farooq for her role in taking the program forward.

The biggest challenge faced by the program was insecurity and inaccessibility. With the success of operation Zarb-i-Azab and support provided by the armed forces in implementation of the campaign, that challenge is clearly behind us now. And there is no reason why we should not achieve the target of zero transmission of the poliovirus, said the Prime Minister.

Where I appreciate everyone for taking a major stride towards our goal, I would like to caution that the job is still far from done and we need to sustain gains while focusing on the grey areas. We will have to make concerted efforts to track and vaccinate every missed child.  The Chief Ministers will have to pay special attention and provide leadership to ensure that every child is reached by the Polio Program.

Expressing commitment of his Government the Prime Minister said the Federal Government remains committed to the cause and there will be no dearth of resources and effort in supporting the provinces and regions in ensuring quality implementation of this initiative.

Earlier, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq made a detailed presentation bringing out the progress,  challenges and proposing future course of action. She informed that joint monitoring visits conducted by the Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar and herself have had a major impact in resolving issues faced by the provinces in the fight against Polio. She called upon the Provincial leadership to ensure Continued security support, motivation of Polio workers, institute a system of accountability, commitment to hold regular meetings of the Provincial Task Forces before and after each campaign and affirmation of commitment to financial sustainability of the Program. She said the next 9 campaigns were critical and if held of the highest quality would make the real difference in the final phase of eradication.

Provincial Chief Ministers and representatives of international partner agencies also expressed their views on the occasion.