UNITED NATIONS: Despite the security challenges, Ambassador Masood Khan has told a United Nations panel that Pakistan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, hopes to eradicate polio in 2014.
“We have come a long way in eliminating polio from the country,” he told the UNICEF Executive Board which opened this year’s first session on Tuesday.
“Almost 95 percent of the country is now polio free. More is needed, however, the Pakistani envoy said. “We are therefore now implementing an augmented National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) to eradicate polio in 2014,” he told delegates.
“Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is leading the efforts to eradicate polio which threatens our future generations. To accomplish this mission, the prime minister has created a Polio Eradication Cell in his office and has designated a focal point to coordinate actions between the federal, provincial and local governments.”
The Pakistani envoy said President Mamnoon Hussain launched immunization programme in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last month by convening a Grand Jirga where he secured the support of local community, specially Ulema and tribal leaders.
“Despite security challenges, our valiant polio workers continue to perform their tasks with devotion and dedication,” Masood Khan said. “We salute their perseverance and commitment. We condemn terrorist attacks against them. We pay a tribute to the volunteers who have lost their lives while eradicating the menace of polio from our country.”
At the outset, Masood Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the protection and welfare of the children. He also referred to global preparations of a comprehensive, forward looking post-2015 development agenda, saying “nothing is more important than the strongest possible reiteration of our commitment that in all our actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”. “Our commitment to promote sustainable development is nothing but a set of actions to ensure a better world for our children,” he said.