KARACHI: It is painful that while the situation in Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) is improving, Sindh has shown negligible progress in combatting the menace of polio.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah expressed his dismay over Sindh’s performance while presiding over a meeting on polio at the New Secretariat on Monday. Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro, MNA Dr Azra Pechuho, provincial polio coordinator Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) project director Fayaz Jatoi, chief secretary Rizwan Memon, Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja, additional IG Mushtaq Maher, health secretary Fazlullah Pechuho, all the divisional commissioners and representatives of the federal government, World Health Organization and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) were present at the meeting among others.
Briefing the CM, Jatoi shared that during 2016, 19 polio cases were detected across the country, of which eight surfaced in Sindh, eight in K-P, two in Fata, one in Balochistan and none in Punjab. Of the eight cases of Sindh, seven were reported from rural areas while one belonged to Karachi. The CM was told that in 2015, 54 polio cases were reported in the country - 12 in Sindh, 17 in K-P, 16 in Fata, seven in Balochistan and two in Punjab. On this, Shah said that it was painful that while the other regions have improved, Sindh has shown negligible progress. This shows that there is some problem that we have to address, he said.
Shah admitted that polio has become a big challenge for his government. “I have accepted this challenge and Inshallah will turn Sindh [into a] polio-free province shortly.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2017.
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