Pakistan’s polio fight wins praise in Geneva

Published: June 5, 2017


ISLAMABAD: Experts attending the World Health Assembly appreciated Pakistan’s progress in polio eradication and urged other countries to benefit from Pakistan’s experience in countering this deadly disease, Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said.

World Health Assembly, which started on May 22 concluded last week on Wednesday in Geneva.

It resolved to fight disease and address inequity in provision of health services across the globe.

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As many as 3,500 delegates from 194 countries participated in this global forum on health that deliberated upon diverse issues during its 10-day annual session.

Issues such as accelerating the fight against growing burden of non-communicable diseases across the world, strengthening preparedness for cross-border spread of epidemics, access to universal healthcare, polio eradication and strengthening routine immunisation were discussed during the meetings.

Pakistan’s delegation was led by Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar.

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Pakistan, Tarar said, had made substantial progress in fighting anti-microbial resistance, implementation of the global health security agenda to address the spread of epidemics, provision of universal health coverage.

Tarar said Pakistan presented its National Health Vision which was crucial for charting a joint roadmap for health with the federation and provinces working in close coordination to achieve targets in the health sector.

Saira Afzal Tarar also presided over several side events aimed at highlighting issues of mutual concern and sharing knowledge for the mutual benefit of members states of the World Health Organization (WHO).

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A special side event on polio eradication was presided jointly by Pakistan and Nigerian health ministers where global experts on polio presented their viewpoint on how to eradicate this disease.

Pakistan’s progress, she said, was appreciated by experts.

Events on implementation of international health regulations, universal health coverage, diabetes, tuberculosis control, nutrition, eye health and blood safety were also presided over by Pakistan’s representatives, she said.

The global community recognised Pakistan’s efforts in ensuring financial sustainability of its national immunization programme through successful conclusion of National Immunization Support Programme.

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On the occasion, Pakistan and Turkey agreed to take concrete steps to strengthen mutual collaboration in areas of capacity-building for health professionals and medical education.

The Minister also held a meeting with top officials of a Geneva-based multinational pharmaceutical firm for provision of free medicines to the poor segments of the population enrolled with the Prime Minister’s National Health Programme.

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