Health Minister says uninterrupted flow of resources critical to sustaining polio gains

October 20, 2015

 Islamabad, the 20th October, 2015:-  Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said substantial gains have been made in stopping poliovirus transmission this year and we have to make every effort to sustain these gains in Polio Eradication. This was stated by Minister for NHSR&C while addressing a high level Donor Coordination meeting on polio eradication. The Ministry of National Health Services being the executing agency of the Polio Emergency Program has the all important responsibility of ensuring uninterrupted provision of resources. Every effort is being made to mobilize resources for the Program so that finances are available to support a robust program strategy in this crucial phase of Polio Eradication; the Minister said.

She said the Government has on its part made substantial financial investment into the Program reflecting our strong ownership and political will. The Government values support of international partner to this noble initiative. “We are together furthering the cause of not only the Pakistani children but children of the world. The world would only be safe from polio when the last child is protected against the disease and we have seen the back of the poliovirus” She said.

The Donor Coordination Meeting for Resource Generation for Polio Eradication Intitive in Pakistan was attended by the Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Secretary NHSR&C Muhammad Ayub Sheikh, Director General Health Dr. Assad Hafeez and representatives from all international partner agencies and a number of Embassies besides  representatives from Economic Affairs Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Planning Division.     

Speaking on the occasion Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said that while Polio Program continues to seek support from partners in addressing the resource gap, we remain mindful that these resources belong to the children of Pakistan and every penny has to be spent prudently to protect them from polio. We are greatly encouraged by expression of overwhelming support of international partners and understand that this is a reflection of a strong partnership that has withstood the test of time.

She informed that substantial progress this year is evidenced by sharp decline in polio cases and continuously shrinking positive environmental samples linked to the increasing access to children in insecure areas and improved programmatic performance.  “Availability of adequate resources for 2016 is of pivotal importance for Program Planning and to sustain critical activities” She added.

 

In his remarks, Secretary Ministry of National Health Services Muhammad Ayub Sheikh gave a detailed appraisal of the funding position and the financial commitments for 2016 to 2018 already available with government alongwith the resource gap for which support of international partners was being sought. He informed that Polio Emergency PC-1 is being placed before the National Economic Council during the month of November.

 

Representatives of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Government of Japan, JICA, Islamic Development Bank, World Bank, USAID, CDC-USA, Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF, GIZ, Embassies of China, Bahrain, Turkey and Australia spoke on the occasion and expressed appreciation for the Government’s commitment to the cause. They also agreed that there was a critical need to sustain the gains made and make progress in the fight against polio.