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Friday March 31, 2023

Efforts urged for polio eradication

By Bureau report
January 18, 2023

PESHAWAR: A senior government official on Tuesday lauded the teamwork of all partners and called for coordinated efforts to eradicate polio.

A handout said Chief Secretary Dr Shehzad Bangash appreciated all the partners working with the provincial Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) and the Health Department for making concerted efforts to eradicate the crippling disease.

He was chairing the meeting of the Provincial Task Force. The secretary Home and Tribal Affairs, secretary Elementary and Secondary Education, Secretary Information Arshad Khan, DIG Operations, Add Secretary Population Welfare, Add Secretary Finance, Director PMRU, representative of 11 corps, Lt Col Amjad, Director General Health Services KP, Shaheen Afridi, Provincial Head of Rotary International Rauf Rohaila, UNICEF Team Lead Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI), Hamesh Young, Additional Secretary Health (polio eradication), Asif Rahim, Director EPI, Dr Arif, Team Lead N Stop, Dr Hafizullah, National Professional officer WHO, Dr Kamran Waheed, Deputy Director EOC, Muhammad Zeeshan Khan and others attended the meeting.

All commissioners and deputy commissioners also joined the meeting virtually. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Shehzad Bangash underscored the need for focus on community engagement to raise awareness about the significance of essential immunization.

He said it was important to connect with the communities, improve coordination and encourage factual reporting to get the real data from the field.

He said a lot of efforts, coordination and resources went into every round of the anti-polio campaign, and it was important to ensure optimal use and benefits of all these efforts by ensuring a strict monitoring and accountability system at all levels. “No polio case has been reported for the last 4 months while all environmental sites are negative indicating good progress in the battle against polio,” stated Dr Shehzad.

Appreciating the work of local and international partners, he called for adopting data driven strategies to plug the remaining gaps in wiping out the scourge from the region.

He underscored the need to intensify the efforts for reaching the finishing line, saying that with the teamwork and the exiting support from all line departments and government functionaries the dream of polio-free Pakistan would soon be a reality.

Earlier, Additional Secretary Health (polio eradication)/ Coordinator EOC Asif Rahim briefed the forum about the ongoing anti-polio campaign in the province.

He informed the meeting about the new interventions including ring strategy introduced in the Mehsud belt of South Waziristan, extended outreach activities, positive environmental sites mop-ups, streamlining the reporting, presence and corrective actions. Asif Rahim told the participants about the readiness status of the ongoing anti-polio drive in the province.