Islamabad, June 27, 2024 – Coordinator to the PM on National Health Services Dr Malik Mukhtar Bharat and the newly-appointed Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq visited the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication on Thursday after taking charge of her new role.

The NEOC team briefed Dr Bharath and Senator Ayesha on the current epidemiology of the poliovirus, surveillance, number of virus detections this year and the details of the upcoming planned polio campaign next week.


Chairing a staff meeting, Dr Bharath welcomed Senator Ayesha into her new role and said that the PM has appointed her to facilitate direct coordination between the Polio Programme and the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The government is leading polio eradication efforts and you have the full support of the Ministry of National Health Services at every step of the way,” he said.

In her remarks, Senator Ayesha said that the PM is very concerned about the increase in the number of poliovirus detections in the country and has entrusted her with a huge responsibility to lead the charge and ensure positive and sustained progress.

“The Prime Minister has given us three months to make progress, therefore, the next few months are critical where we must focus on improving campaign quality, enhancing surveillance and stopping virus transmission,” she said. “The Polio Programme has done really well in the past and we have come really close to polio eradication. I have no doubt that we have a team in place that can get the job done.”  


She added that she would be regularly briefing the Prime Minister on polio and continually monitoring campaigns and activities at the NEOC.

NEOC Coordinator Muhammad Anwarul Haq welcomed Senator Ayesha Farooq and said that the government and partners are working together with one resolve to address the remaining barriers to polio eradication and will continue to work with renewed focus on areas where virus is persisting.

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq was appointed Focal Person to the PM on Polio on Tuesday. She has earlier served in the same role from 2013 to 2018.


Note for Editor:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free, except for the two endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

For further information, please contact: Ms Hania Naeem, Communications Officer, NEOC, +923431101988; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.