Thursday February 29, 2024

Donors pledge to walk last mile with Pakistan in fight against polio

By our correspondents
February 10, 2017


International donors Thursday pledged to walk the last mile with Pakistan in its fight long-drawn fight to eradicate polio. The commitment came at a high-level meeting with donors of the Polio Eradication Initiative here at the National Emergency Operations Centre.

The donors appreciated the gains made by Pakistan to eradicate poliovirus and pledged to continue their support to push polio to the annals of history.

“This year, Pakistan has recorded the lowest number of polio cases in 15 years and is all set to interrupt virus in 2017. Our frontline workers are committed, resources stand mobilized and communities are geared to achieve the target of interruption by end of the current low transmission season,” said Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication, in her welcome address.

Dr. Rana Safdar, national coordinator for Emergency Operations Centre briefed representatives of donor and prospective donor agencies and countries about the progress on implementation of National Emergency Action Plan 2016-17 and strategies for interruption through effective management, surveillance and accountability.

Representative of Japan, Canada, Germany, Australia, Italy, Islamic Development Bank, KfW Development Bank, JICA, Dfid, USAID, Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF, CDC and Bill Melinda Gates Foundation were present at the meeting.

Angela Kearney, Country Representative of Unicef in Pakistan praised the leadership of the programme for being transparent in running a huge programme with efficiency. “We will continue to support the programme at all levels,” she said.

Dr Assai Ardakani, WHO’s Acting Representative, appreciated the vision and performance of the national leadership and hoped that the polio programme will leave behind good lessons for improving the overall health structures and systems of Pakistan.

National Chair of Rotary International Pakistan Aziz Memon said Rotary is “proud to be part of this national cause and would continue to support the polio eradication programme through financial, logistical and human resource support in the years to come.”

Representative of JICA Yohei Ishiguro said that both the government of Japan and his agency are happy and satisfied to be part of a performing programme. Representative of Islamic Development Bank in Pakistan Inamullah Khan applauded the exemplary political commitment shown by the government to make polio eradication an almost reality in Pakistan.

First Secretary of Canadian High Commission Kiril Iordanov, CDC Representative Syed Mansor Saeed, Project Coordinator KfW Germany Dr. Masuma Zaidi, Programme Manager Australian High Commission Humaira Ibrahim, Resident Advisor FELTP Dr. Rana Jawad, Economic Specialist US Embassy Gul-e-Afshan, and team lead health and nutrition DFID Dr. Chris Athayde attended the donor briefing.