Taking stock: Chief secretary expresses alarm at number of polio cases

Published: October 14, 2014
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43 polio cases have been reported from K-P this year despite the polio vaccination drives organised in the province. PHOTO: STOCK IMAGE

43 polio cases have been reported from K-P this year despite the polio vaccination drives organised in the province. PHOTO: STOCK IMAGE

PESHAWAR: Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan has directed all deputy commissioners (DC) and health officials to take tangible steps to eradicate polio from their districts.

During a meeting of the polio task force at the Civil Secretariat on Tuesday, Khan expressed concern over the polio outbreak in the country.

“A large number of cases have been reported from Pakistan which is an alarming signal for our country,” said Khan. The chief secretary added 43 polio cases have been reported from K-P this year despite the polio vaccination drives organised in the province.

He urged health officials and deputy commissioners to adopt a serious approach to tackle this problem.

According to Khan, Pakistan is the only country in the world where 207 polio cases have been reported over the last nine months. The number of cases increased on Monday after another wild-type-1 polio case from K-P was confirmed by the National Institute of Health (NIH). This is an alarming figure which demands attention, he added.

Officials of the task force presented their progress reports on all districts to the chief secretary. The meeting was attended by the DCs, K-P health secretary and representatives from World Health Organization and Unicef.

Amid challenges

Financial support has been provided to back the polio eradication drives across the province.

Although there are countless security issues in some parts of K-P, officials should be prepared for all eventualities and eliminate poliovirus from the country, said the chief secretary.

He urged the DCs to take up the budget issue with senior authorities immediately and pay the salaries of health workers and lady health workers on time.

The chief secretary also insisted DCs and health officials should adopt unique methods to convince parents to administer polio vaccines to their children.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2014.

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