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August 30, 2019

Technical experts on polio assess eradication efforts in Pakistan


August 30, 2019

Islamabad: The two-day meeting of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Polio Eradication started Thursday to assess the challenges and opportunities impeding polio eradication in Pakistan.

Special Advisor to the PM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza, the PM’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Babar Bin Atta, as well as leaders of the polio eradication programme at the country and global levels will brief TAG members on ongoing efforts to eradicate polio in Pakistan.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Zafar assured TAG of the government’s utmost commitment to make Pakistan polio-free, while addressing any remaining challenges including, most notably, community resistance to vaccination, low levels of essential immunization coverage, as well as sub-optimal accountability and performance management at the district level. “Despite the identified challenges, we have not lost our resolve to end polio. We remain committed to turn around this situation as soon as possible and secure a polio-free country, and a polio-free world,” he added.

Dr. Zafar mentioned that the Prime Minister of Pakistan is leading the polio eradication efforts in the country and efforts are underway to ensure that the gravity of the current polio situation, with 58 cases reported so far this year, is communicated and stressed upon at all levels of government bureaucracy across the country.

The SAPM also highlighted the importance of strengthening synergies between the polio eradication programme and the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) as well as other programmes delivering integrated services such as the Ehsaas programme, so communities that are vulnerable for polio also receive other critical interventions that will improve their lives.

Appreciating the efforts of polio frontline workers despite the existing challenges, Dr. Zafar expressed gratitude to all international partners and donors for standing with Pakistan through this crucial phase in Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate polio.

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