Islamabad, 6 July 2017: Prime Minister’s focal person for polio eradication, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq has said that Polio is a zero sum game and until we achieve zero, we cannot relax in our war against polio.

Addressing the concluding ceremony of four-day 10th annual review and training meeting of Field Epidemiology Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) officers she congratulated the program officials for successfully completing six years of dedicated work in Pakistan. NSTOP officers are adding critical value to Pakistan program by providing technical support at district level, she added.

Senator expressed that NSTOP assignees are doing a great service to mankind and are part of a winning team that is in the process of making history by wiping the crippling polio diseases from face of the earth through hard work, dedicated and technical knowledge. She pledged that government of Pakistan would do everything to make sure that their work is further facilitated and hoped that CDC Atlanta would extend same support to these officers in the coming months and years. She also praised the open-hearted, candid and frank review of their progress during the past few days with an aim to further improve the program. This culture of open accountability is the driver of change in Pakistan’s polio Eradication Initiative and NTOP officers continue to promote this through their hard work, she added.

She urged the programme staff to renew a pledge to uproot the crippling polio diseases from the country by the end of current year. She said that the FELTP has produced a handsome quantity of trained human resource in Pakistan which will help in developing a smooth transition of Polio assets for to other priority health initiatives. She said that improving the routine immunization particularly in the core reservoirs is a high priority and we will do every possible effort to help our EPI colleagues to improve on that account as well.

National Coordinator for Pakistan Polio Program, Dr Rana Safdar in his concluding remarks commended NSTOP officers by saying that “your role at district level is very critical as you have remained instrumental in motivating and mobilizing the DPCRs in collaboration with concerned DCs and I want you to continue your work in the same zeal till we achieve zero.”

Welcoming the participants of the review meeting, Dr. Rana Jawad Asgher, Resident Advisor FELTP highlighted the role of Field Epidemiology Training Programme in strengthening federal and provincial human resource which is assisting the Government of Pakistan in controlling communicable diseases including the N-STOP initiative targeting Polio and vaccine preventable diseases.

Four day review meeting of the N-STOP officers was attended by the District Polio Control Room (DPCR) focal persons from critical districts of the country. Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, National Coordinator for Polio eradication, 65 N-STOP officers, national leads of WHO and UNICEF, Resident Advisor FELTP.

The N-STOP is a collaborative initiative of the Government of Pakistan, FELTP, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta. The programme trains and deploys Government Public Health Officers in critical Polio districts to serve as key technical support persons with the Deputy Commissioners.