Islamabad: President Mamnoon Hussain has reiterated unwavering commitment of the present government to protect the children from polio and eventually eradicating the crippling disease from all parts of the country and said that the Government has declared polio eradication a health emergency.
The President said this while chairing a briefing on polio eradication campaigns and the latest situation in the efforts for stamping out the disease.
The meeting was attended among others by Engineer Shaukat Ullah Khan, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Mr. Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, Secretary, National Health Services Regulations & Coordination, Mr. Arbab Muhammad Arif, Additional Chief Secretary FATA and Dr. Altaf Bosan, National Technical Focal Person, PM’s Polio Monitoring & Coordination Cell.
Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq, PM’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication briefed the meeting on latest polio situation, the Polio campaigns and the various steps being taken by the government for eradicating the polio from Pakistan.
The meeting was informed that in each of the National polio drives, around 34 million children are being vaccinated.
Mr. Arbab Muhammad Arif, Additional Chief Secretary FATA apprised the meeting about the various strategies and innovative approaches being employed by the FATA Secretariat for polio eradication in all the seven agencies and six FRs of FATA.
The meeting was apprised that a new transit strategy has been introduced to cover children moving out of and into FATA through special Polio teams and transit points have been established to vaccinate these children.
The President stressed for further strengthening the already existing a special civil-military co-ordination mechanism in FATA and directed the FATA Task Force, established under the leadership of Governor KP to undertake all necessary steps to ensure consistent reach to all the children in FATA for polio vaccination.
He also called upon the FATA authorities to ensure that challenges in FATA especially North and South Waziristan where a ban is clamped on polio campaigns by certain groups, are met with locally appropriate solutions and in accordance with local traditions and norms.
The President reiterated for engaging local populace especially the influential people including Khateebs and Ulema, religious scholars and the tribal elders in the fight against polio and persuading people to allow vaccination in the interest of their own children.
Dilating on security situation, the President said that despite immense security challenges especially in FATA, Pakistan remains firmly committed to the eradication of polio and every possible step at all levels will be taken to stamp out the crippling disease from every corner of the country.
He urged all the relevant authorities for providing full security cover to the workers involved in the Polio Campaign and said that we cannot allow anyone to target those working to protect the health of our children. .
Expressing concern over the rising number of polio cases in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the President urged all concerned for strict implementation of the already instituted system of zero tolerance for inefficiency, negligence and under performance in the Anti-Polio drive.
The President while reaffirming his personal patronage and government’s unflinching commitment to polio eradication said that we all shall not rest till every child of the age of 5 year or below is immunized in the country and the polio is completely eradicated from Pakistan.