We want a polio free Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif

Islamabad: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that it was his earnest desire to make Pakistan a country where no parents see their child crippled by polio.

The Prime Minister said this while chairing a high level meeting on Polio Task Force at the Prime Minister’s office on Friday. The meeting was also attended by Engineer Shaukatullah, Governor KPK, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, CM Sindh, Mr Pervez Khattak, CM KPK and Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, PM AJK.

“I am aware of the challenges that face us today and also cognizant of diversity of these challenges from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Sindh”, said the Prime Minister. He noted the importance for demonstrating mutual resolve and collective will to achieve the cherished goal of complete eradication of polio from the country.

The Prime Minister stressed that the success of the National Emergency Action Plan, developed in consultation with all stake holders, depends on its proper implementation. He added that civil-military coordination mechanism will help a great deal in eradicating polio from FATA.

Assuring complete support from the Federal Government, the Premier expressed the hope that the provincial governments will further enhance their efforts and target the specified areas for optimal results. He asked for nominating senior government officials as provincial polio focal persons and establishing Provincial Monitoring Control rooms in CM or CS offices.

Mrs Saira Afzal Tarar, MOS for National Health Services, Regulation & Coordination briefed the meeting on strategies evolved for polio eradication from the country. She said in 1994 there were 2600 reported cases of polio in Pakistan while the figure for 2013 stands at 28, showing a sharp decline in polio cases in the country. She proposed that the Task Force must meet on quarterly basis to overview the progress made.

Dr. Ala Alwan, Regional Director, WHO appreciated the decline in polio cases in Pakistan and stressed that coordinated efforts must continue till the complete eradication of polio from the country. He urged that combined endeavours by political and religious leadership and the local administration would substantially help in achieving the shared goal.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Ala Alwan, Regional Director, WHO called on the Prime Minister at PM’s office. The Prime Minister said that Pakistan values the support extended by WHO in different areas of health sector including Polio Eradication.

Parliamentarians and senior government officials were present in the meeting.

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