PM says Pakistan government will not rest until every child is safe from polio; inaugurates nationwide polio campaign to vaccinate over 43 million children.
Islamabad, October 2, 2023 – Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said on Monday that every child has the right to live a life free from the threat of polio and the government will not rest until every child is safe from this disability-causing disease.
Chairing a meeting of the National Taskforce for Polio Eradication (NTF) at PM Office, PM Kakar said: “Pakistan has its sight set on interrupting wild poliovirus transmission this year and the gravity of our mission is not lost on us. We are well aware of the world’s anticipation as we wait on this last remaining region to interrupt transmission.”
The NTF is a high-level forum led by the Prime Minister and has provincial Chief Ministers, Governor KP, Prime Minister of AJK and Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan as members. It meets regularly to share progress on polio eradication, discuss challenges and tackle the remaining barriers to eradication.
PM Kakar said Pakistan has made tremendous progress against polio thanks to the hard work of frontline polio workers, government’s commitment and the sustained support of law enforcement agencies and global polio eradication partners.
Federal Minister for Health Dr Nadeem Jan said it is imperative to keep this excellent momentum going. “No polio case has been reported outside of the endemic zone of southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since January 2021. Interrupting virus circulation here is critical for Pakistan. As we exit the high transmission season, we are making sure that our sights remain fixed on this goal.”
The minister added that a team of experts has been deployed to the endemic region to do a thorough analysis of eradication efforts and come back with concrete suggestions to fix the issues that are preventing us from reaching all children.
Federal Health Secretary Iftikhar Shallwani said: “Polio has harmed our children for far too long, therefore, eradication is a national cause for all of us. Pakistan is fighting polio on all fronts, and we are working hard every day to make the country polio-free.”
Following the NTF meeting, PM Kakar inaugurated a nationwide polio campaign along with the health minister, federal health secretary and Polio Programme officials.
Over 43 million children under the age of five will be vaccinated during this second national campaign of the year. The campaign is being held in phases – in the first phase oral and injectable polio vaccine was given to eligible children in Killa Abdullah and Chaman from September 25 to October 1, while in the rest of the country, the campaign began on October 2. Children will also be given Vitamin A to boost immunity.