Independent Monitoring Board for Polio Meets in London

October 31, 2017

 ISLAMABAD 31st October 2017 -- The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is convening in London this week to review global progress of polio eradication. Over the next two days the board is reviewing the remaining challenges and progress made on attaining eradication with particular focus on the remaining endemic countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

 

Federal Minister for National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar, is leading Pakistan’s delegation at the meeting, and is joined by Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication, and Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, National Coordinator of the National Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Eradication.

 

The IMB is mandated by the World Health Assembly to provide independent assessments of the progress made and report to countries with an ultimate aim of guiding eradication efforts.

 

In its 15th session held in May 2017, the IMB recognized the great progress made in Pakistan’s polio situation to date and called for more innovative approaches to end polio in the country once and for all. With 5 cases so far this year, this is the best ever case count Pakistan has recorded. This historic achievement has been credited to the hard work of the thousands of front line workers deployed during vaccination campaigns across the country.

 

“The best way to honour the commitment of our frontline health workers is to ensure that we finish the job and build a better future for all of our children and future generations,” said Federal Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar while addressing today’s session.

 

Building on the last IMB recommendations, Pakistan’s polio eradication developed its 2017/2018 National Emergency Action Plan with innovative strategies with the aim of stopping transmission during this next season and has focused diligently on implementing these strategies added the Minister.

 

“Let me assure the IMB that the Government of Pakistan under the leadership of the Prime Minister remains fully committed to climb towards zero with the continued support and contribution of all the partners at this table,” Saira Afzal.Tarar shared with the IMB today. “Polio eradication…is the beginning of our efforts to reach our most vulnerable children with equitable access to health care, added the Minister”

 

The IMB will be concluding deliberations in London on Wednesday. The Government of Pakistan welcomed the discussions with the aim of achieving polio eradication goals and achieving a significant global public health landmark.