Health Minister tells international experts Pakistan on course to end Polio

June 04, 2015

Islamabad, the 4th June, 2015:- Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar addressing the Technical Advisory Group for Polio today said having come of an outbreak situation in 2014 successfully, Pakistan was now on course to ending polio. “We have come a long way since the explosive outbreak of 2014 and much has been done to change the complexion of the polio eradication drive in the country” the Minister said. We are encouraged by the recognition by the IMB of efforts by the Government of Pakistan in addressing issues of accessibility and security which were major stumbling blocks in our fight against polio. Our commitment to Polio Eradication remains resolute and firm. It is a commitment we have made with ourselves, with the children of Pakistan and with the global community. At present, the Polio Eradication Initiative enjoys the highest level of Government ownership at all levels driven by a strong Political will and national consensus to root out the disease. The key issue of inaccessibility that was the single major impediment to fighting Polio has been effectively addressed by launching a military operation to flush out terrorists, initiating campaigns protected by the armed forces and establishing an effective security strategy that is in sync with operational strategy in sensitive areas. All agencies of FATA, an area in the north of Pakistan, which was consistently reporting the largest number of Polio cases and where there was a ban on Polio immunization, are now accessible to health workers and Polio vaccination is in full swing using both house to house strategy and through vaccination in common compound of the tribal elders. With improved monitoring and coordination through establishing the National and Provincial Emergency Operations Centers across the country, there has been a significant improvement in campaign coverage. We are mindful of the fact that there is still a considerable distance to cover and we will God-willing with a strong Political commitment, strengthened monitoring, effective coordination and support of our partners, achieve our goals in polio eradication. Later, the meeting was given a detailed briefing by Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication bringing out the achievements over the last seven months.