Polio eradication is my top priority, says new Karachi commissioner

Published: January 7, 2016
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: The newly appointed Karachi commissioner Syed Asif Haider Shah held three meetings within 24 hours with officials working on polio eradication, saying, “It has been my top priority.”

During the meeting of the Karachi task force at chief secretary Siddique Memon’s office on Thursday, Memon requested the Sindh Police to not only pay attention to the polio teams’ security issues but also cooperate with Shah and his team.

He said that the polio eradication campaign in Karachi is being watched closely by the prime minister office. “We’ll put full force in the upcoming campaigns,” he promised.

Better late than never: Police finally secure polio teams

He said during the meeting, which was attended by health officials, representatives of the World Health Organisation, Unicef and other stakeholders, that security has been the paramount concern and the success of the drive depended on the timely availability of the police force. The chief secretary directed the revenue staff to be involved in polio eradication activities as per the directives of the commissioner.

“Karachi’s dynamics are different, especially in terms of security,” the commissioner said during the meeting. He expressed his hope that there would be better results, requesting police officials to provide better security to polio teams. “I assure you, we’ll try to improve the situation even further,” he vowed.

Sharing details on the polio plan, Dr Muhammad Usman Chachar, Sindh’s coordinator of the emergency operations centre (EOC), urged that the role of the deputy commissioners should be formalised.

Dr Chachar said that the upcoming polio campaigns in the city will be in one phase due to polio cooperation instead in two phases, as was done in the previous drives.

EOC chairperson Azra Pechuho said that the previous polio teams comprised of non-local persons. “The issue has been resolved and only local workers are being assigned to the polio teams,” she added, stressing that the town health officials must support the teams completely.

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