Health Minister addresses international polio experts – says dramatic turnaround in polio due to strong political commitment

March 30, 2017

 Islamabad, 30th March 2017- A two-day Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting comprising of global Public Health experts on polio eradication started in Islamabad today. The meeting is also being attended by Regional Director of World Health Organization Dr. Mahmoud Fikri who is on an official visit to Pakistan.   

Addressing the meeting, Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said under the Prime Minister’s leadership the programme has been overhauled over the last 2 years. With the strongest of political will, unwavering commitment and resolve, consistent and collective hard work,  we are today by the grace of Allah Almighty very close to achieving our cherished goal of stopping the transmission of poliovirus; she said.

 

The Minister said as we complete the last mile in this epic fight against Polio we look up to international experts for valuable guidance and support.

 

She said the programme is being implemented at a massive scale across the country. Up to 37 million target children under 5 vaccinated with by a workforce of up to 220,000 vaccinators each month. Significant gains have been made in every area of the programme.  I take this opportunity to appreciate our frontline workers and everyone across the programme working directly and indirectly to support their work. The pressure is on to address the remaining challenges against demanding timelines but we draw confidence from major gains made in the last two years, the Minister said.

 

She appreciated the armed forces and all security agencies as due to their efforts, the inaccessible children across the country have been reduced to negligible levels by providing a safe and secure environment for the vaccination teams. I appreciate their commitment to continue this support until the job is done, the Minister said.

 

Later the Minister held a detailed meeting with Regional Director of World Health Organization Dr. Mahmoud Fikri. The meeting discussed ways and means to strengthening ongoing partnership between the Government of Pakistan and WHO.

 

Dr. Mahmoud Fikri appreciated the major turnaround in Polio Eradication in Pakistan with dramatic reduction in polio cases to 2 cases this year. Regional Director WHO landed the Prime Minister’s National Health Program and said it was the most innovative means to providing universal health coverage to the people.

 

The Minister for National Health Services discussed with the visiting dignitary strengthening Family Practices in Pakistan to reduce burden on major hospitals in the country.