Adviser to Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique said on Thursday that political commitment was required to eradicate polio virus from Pakistan.
He was speaking to journalists after leading a polio awareness walk organised by Rotary Club. Rafique said the government had taken several steps in this regard. He said the government’s initiatives had yielded positive results as only three cases of polio had been detected in the Punjab. Rafique said this was the lowest number of cases detected in any province of Pakistan.
He said some people had argued with polio teams and refused the vaccines. Rafique said polio workers were only serving the people and doing their duty. He said some people had misbehaved with them for approaching them.
Rafique said no tolerance would be showed in this regard and those found guilty of harassing workers would be punished. He said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had taken notice of the Lohari Gate incident and a case had been registered against the culprits.
He praised the club’s services regarding polio eradication. Rafique said the club had extensively cooperated with the government and the Health Department to eradicate polio.
A large number of Rotary Club officials, representatives of Rotary International, representatives of non-governmental organisations schoolchildren and university students participated in the event. They also raised slogans and carried placards inscribed with information regarding the virus.
The government has launched an initiative to provide missing equipment and staff at all district headquarters (DHQ) hospitals and tehsil headquarters (THQ) hospitals of the province, Rafique said.
He was presiding over a meeting to evaluate the needs of DHQ and THQ hospitals of Jhang and Faisalabad districts at civil secretariat on Wednesday.
Health Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik, Health Director General Dr Zahid Pervaiz, Budget and Accounts Deputy Secretary Sarfraz Ahmad, Punjab Medical College Faisalabad Principal Zahid Hashmi, Faisalabad Health EDO Rana Waqar, MPAs Khalid Saeed, Nawaz Malik, Dr Najma Afzal Khan, Rashida Yaqub, former MPA Muhammad Yaqub and medical superintendents of the hospitals concerned attended the meeting.
The elected public representatives thanked Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif for issuing orders to provide missing medical equipment and upgrade of the hospitals and provision of staff.
The meeting decided to hand over the administrative control of Ghulam Muhammadabad and Samanabad government hospitals to the Punjab Medical College Faisalabad.
The meeting was informed that medical equipment for a burn unit at Allied Hospital Faisalabad had reached the hospital and would be installed soon.
The meeting discussed the plan of establishing a kidney centre in Faisalabad, extension in the infrastructure of DHQ hospital, establishment of a breast clinic.
It was decided that new ambulances, dialysis machines and X-ray machines would be provided to the Jhang government hospital. Posts in the Jhang nursing school would also be enhanced.
MPA Rashida Yaqub Sheikh informed the meeting that Iran was constructing a hospital in Jhang at a cost of Rs630 million. She said that construction work at the hospital had been started. Sheikh Yaqub said that the hospital would be a gift from the Iranian government to the people of Jhang and adjacent areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2014.