Saturday August 20, 2022

Working hard to fight the virus, assures Patel

By Our Correspondent
June 16, 2022

Islamabad : Pakistan’s Polio Programme continues to work hard to reach zero polio, and the recent cases in Pakistan have increased our determination to fight this virus till the very end. Since the first case appeared, the health ministry and the polio programme have been working closely together to meet the needs of the hour and effectively interrupt poliovirus transmission.

Minister for Health Qadir Patel expressed these views while addressing the fifth meeting of the Regional Subcommittee on Polio Eradication and Outbreaks, which was convened in Cairo on Tuesday by WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari.

The last two polio endemic countries in the world—Pakistan and Afghanistan— have reported 11 wild polio cases this year. Of these, 10 cases have been reported from Pakistan’s North Waziristan district, and one from Afghanistan.

“The continued presence of any circulating poliovirus in any country of the Region has catastrophic consequences for children who are paralyzed, and poses a threat to national, regional and global health security. The need for regional solidarity, collaboration, and collective action has never been greater,” said Dr Al-Mandhari.

Emphasizing the importance of reaching all children, co-Chair of the Regional Subcommittee Dr. Hanan Al-Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, Qatar, said, “For our Region to be free of polio, we have to get ahead of the virus and strengthen immunity levels in all at-risk children across the Region, particularly those who are inaccessible or persistently missed by routine immunisation and polio vaccination campaigns.”

The meeting was attended by health ministers or their representatives from Djibouti, Egypt, Pakistan, Qatar, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and donors.