Islamabad: August 25, 2017- Reiterating firm commitment of the Government of Pakistan to rid the country from the polio, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while chairing a meeting of National Task Force on Polio Eradication has said that even a single case of polio in the country should be taken seriously and no effort should be spared to ensure complete eradication of the disease from the entire country.

The Prime Minister said that “high mobility rates and existence of polio reservoirs across the border are among the major challenges facing complete elimination of polio, but we are fully determined to overcome them”.

While briefing the meeting about the progress on polio eradication efforts, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq stated that 306 cases were reported in Pakistan during 2014, but due to the consistent efforts of the present government and support from international partners, Provincial Governments, Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies, Polio incidents had been significantly reduced. Only 3 cases had been reported in 2017 so far.

She further stated that 38 million children were vaccinated during previous campaign and the Independent Monitoring Board had termed Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Program as one of the best efforts in the world.

The meeting was informed that no polio case had been reported from FATA since July 2016. Similarly, Karachi and interior Sindh have also remained polio free since February 2016 and November 2016 respectively.

Minister for National Health Services Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar informed that an emergency program was initiated in 2013 and that potential areas including Karachi, Quetta and rural Baluchistan were being especially focused on so as to ensure that the virus is effectively checked and eliminated.

The Prime Minister appreciated the role played by provincial governments, FATA administration and governments of AJ&K and Gilgit Baltistan in implementation of the National Polio Eradication program.

The Prime Minister further stressed that routine immunization for polio should be further strengthened and assured full cooperation from the federal government.

Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mr. Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Chief Minister Sind Syed Murad Ali Shah, Prime Minister AJ&K, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan and representatives of Punjab and Balochistan also briefed the meeting and expressed their full commitment to the program.

The meeting was also attended by Chairman Technical Advisory Group Dr. Jean Marc Olive, Country Representative UNICEF Ms. Angela Kearny, Team Leader UNICEF Dr. John Agbor and other representatives of international organizations were also present during the meeting.