Though polio cases have declined by 84 per cent in Pakistan, the virus still exists in three sanctuaries including Karachi, Northern Sindh and the Khyber-Peshawar corridor. This was revealed at a polio review committee meeting here on Wednesday.
The meeting chaired by Minister for National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) Saira Afzal Tarar said that special efforts were still required to eradicate polio from these areas. The minister urged the departments to double their efforts to remove all bottlenecks to eradicate the polio virus from in the country.
“Pakistan has overcome the most daunting challenges of polio and now we are well poise to stop transmission of the virus,” Tarar told the meeting that was also attended by Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Secretary National Health Services Muhammad Ayub Sheikh, Director General Health, Country Coordinator Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, Capital Development Authority member environment, health experts and heads of international partner agencies.
The minister said that Islamabad should be a model for polio eradication efforts and set an example in this context and called for a joint committee of the CDA and Islamabad Capital Territory Administration to ensure optimal level of coordination in the polio efforts.
Earlier Polio Emergency National Coordinator Dr Rana Safdar gave a detailed briefing on the current status of polio eradication in Pakistan.
“There has been major decline in polio cases by 84 per cent, efforts must continue till reaching the zero case,” he said and added that Karachi, Northern Sindh and Khyber-Peshawar corridor was the cause of concern and special efforts were required to eradicate polio from these areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2016.