Islamabad, October 13, 2015 - A group of Diet Task Force on Global Polio Eradication from the Japanese Parliament called on Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio to get firsthand information on the Polio eradication efforts being undertaken by the Government. The high powered delegation interacted with Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq on the recent steps taken by the Government to curb the circulating poliovirus from the country.

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq while interacting with the delegation shared the positive developments that brought an overall paradigm shift in the program. “We are focusing on continuously missed children in each campaign”, said Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq. Prime Minister Focal Person also briefed the delegation on the feedback of the Independent Monitoring Board meeting that overall appreciated Pakistan’s progress and commitment towards Polio Eradication.

Your visit would go a long way in further cementing our strong fraternal ties that are based on mutual respect, trust, identity of views on global and regional issues. Our two countries enjoying close ties in a wide range of areas since establishing diplomatic relations in 1952. These six decades bear testimony to the camaraderie between our people that continues to grow with time and love that has joined our hearts in an inseparable bond.

Japan is also a long-standing partner of Pakistan in our  efforts to eradicate polio. Japan has been providing funding for the last 19 years for procurement of vaccine, establishment of cold chain and promotion of social awareness. Japan’s financial assistance has amounted to over 16 billion yen in total.

There has been an overall drop of 85 percent this year with  geographic distribution of cases becoming more limited. Additionally, we have witnessed the proportion of positive environmental samples fall from 34 percent to 19 percent  and a 50 percent reduction in genetic clusters from 16 to eight. Pakistan Program’s single most important breakthrough is access in to hitherto inaccessible areas and making insecure areas safe for vaccination operations.

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq expressed her gratitude towards the Government of Japan for extending generous support to Pakistan in the efforts of Polio Eradication Initiative.

Following the meeting with Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio, the delegation visited the National Emergency Operation Centre and interacted with national team and development partners. Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar welcomed the delegation on behalf of the Pakistan Polio team and shared the current strategies to deal with the Poliovirus menace. Dr. Rana MuhamamdSafdar also highlighted the support of JICA and Government of Japan in development specially health sector of Pakistan.

Col. Amanat, representative of GHQ also presented the contributions of the Pakistan Army and reiterated the support of Army as an institution in the efforts to knock out poliovirus from the country.

Development partners including Bill & Melinda Foundations, UNICEF, WHO and Rotary also shared their roles in Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Initiative.

Delegation visited the EPI vaccine stores to review the country’s vaccine storage capacity and appreciated the high tech services available at vaccine stores. Following the visit to the NEOC and EPI store, Japanese MPs also conducted a field trip to review the conduct of sub national Immunization days in Islamabad.