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Friday July 19, 2024

Lobbying starts for top anti-polio office after Dr Baig quits

Dr Baig’s resignation came amid reports that the federal government had decided to replace him

By M Waqar Bhatti
June 01, 2024
A polio team administers polio vaccine to a child. — AFP/File
A polio team administers polio vaccine to a child. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Senior government officials have started lobbying to lead Pakistan’s polio eradication programme following the resignation of Dr Shahzad Baig, who was heading the National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) as National Coordinator. Dr Baig resigned on Friday, citing personal reasons.

Dr Baig’s resignation came amid reports that the federal government had decided to replace him with a senior government official of BPS-21 or above to lead Pakistan’s polio eradication initiative in the wake of wild poliovirus 1 spread throughout the country. Dr Baig had confirmed to The News that he was aware of the government’s decision to replace him. In his resignation letter to the federal health secretary, Dr Baig claimed that during his tenure, Pakistan achieved the significant objective of stopping the transmission of endogenous poliovirus. Following Dr Baig’s departure, several names are under consideration to lead the PEI, with a final decision expected from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif soon.