Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday launched the fresh drive of anti-polio campaign by administering vaccine drops to children under five years. The anti-polio campaign was launched in view of the report of three new cases of the crippling disease in the country.
Chairing a meeting of the National Task Force on Polio Eradication, the prime minister took notice of recent polio cases and stressed the joint efforts of all stakeholders including federal agencies, provincial governments and international agencies in this regard.
The meeting was attended by federal ministers including Marriyum Aurangzeb and Abdul Qadir Patel, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz (video link), Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Tanveer Ilyas, Balochistan Health Minister Ahsan Shah, provincial chief secretaries and representatives of international organizations.
Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Provincial Minister of Health also joined the meeting via video link.The prime minister said the challenge of polio still existed and emphasized the need for all to work together to eradicate it. He assured the provinces of every possible help and cooperation from the federal government.
He expressed gratitude that the government of Pakistan was grateful to international organizations, including the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations for providing technical and financial support for the anti-polio campaign.
The meeting was informed that in April and May this year, three polio cases were reported from North Waziristan. No polio cases were reported during February 2021 to March 2022 (14 months).
It was highlighted that at present, 25 districts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were at high risk for the spread of polio virus.The prime minister urged that all provincial governments should pay full attention to anti-polio campaign.
He called the urgent need for all stakeholders to work together with new vigor and enthusiasm to eradicate the polio virus. He hoped that collaboration with international partners would continue so as to ensure the complete eradication of polio from the country.