Pakistan close to eradicating polio: Maleeha



A top Pakistani diplomat has told UNICEF’s Executive Board that Pakistan was now close to being a polio-free country that is focused on the development of children. ‘We have made remarkable progress on Polio eradication,’ Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, said in her remarks to board’s second regular session -2017.
The Executive Board reviews UNICEF activities and approves its policies, country programmes and budgets. It comprises 36 members, representing the five regional groups of member states at the United Nations. Its work is coordinated by the Bureau, comprising the President and four Vice-Presidents, each officer representing one of the five regional groups, says a message received here.
Despite many challenges, she said Pakistan was firmly committed to meeting the ambitious 2030 agenda aimed at ending extreme poverty, equitably promoting prosperity, including and especially of children. Pakistan was pursuing a policy of reform to bring the poor and the vulnerable into the mainstream, with focus on the development of children, Ambassador Lodhi said. The policies aim to improving access to education, health care facilities and economic opportunities for different segments of the society.
Some of the key steps the Pakistani envoy outlined included: Adoption of a people-centric vision 2025, with its 25 associated goals aligning national priorities with the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals; Commitment to increase primary school enrolment and completion rate to 100% and the literacy rate to 90% by 2025; A plan to reduce the infant mortality rate from 74 to less than 40 (per 1000 births) and reduce maternal mortality rate from 276 to less than 140 (per 1000 births) by 2025; Reduce the incidence/prevalence of Hepatitis and Diahorrea by 50% by 2025;
Increase the proportion of population, including children with access to improved sanitation from 48% to 90% by 2025; A strategic review of the National Population Policy to align it with SDGs and Family Planning 2020 Commitments; A National Health Programme launched under the leadership of the Prime Minister; and,— Allocation of Rs. 100 million in the Pediatric Scientist Development Program (PSDP) for the National Initiative for SDGs/Nutrition.
‘We look forward to working closely with UNICEF to achieve these ambitious targets and hope that the programmatic activities of UNICEF will be implemented by the guiding principle of ensuring their alignment with our national priorities at the country level, which is an essential condition for its success,’ Ambassador Lodhi added.—APP

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