Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar Wednesday directed to ensure strict accountability and maintain stringent monitoring of process to meet remaining challenges in polio eradication. Chairing a high level review meeting on polio emergency here, the minister urged to build on success achieved by maintaining stringent monitoring and making everyone associated with the program accountable. She said that Pakistan had come a long way in this initiative and under the leadership of Prime Minister, Muhammed Nawaz Sharif, the government had achieved major turnaround in polio situation that won its applause the world over. She said that by the grace of Allah Almighty the government had met every challenge with courage, determination and a strong political will. The minister noted with satisfaction that there was not only a sharp decline in polio cases but the environmental samples had been increasingly reported negative from 38 percent positive samples to 12 percent positive this year. “Pakistan Army have played an excellent role in providing security and access to the polio teams for which they deserve our tribute” the minister added.
She said that priority would be given to those areas, form where persistent virus circulation was being reported. The minister said she will personally undertake visits to the provinces to meet provincial leadership and address challenges in areas of concern. Reiterating fullest commitment of the federal government to the provinces and areas in the fight against polio, the minister directed that rapid response teams comprising top level polio experts be dispatched on urgent basis wherever in the country where there was a challenge to the polio program.
Saira Afzal Tarar directed that efforts be redoubled to improve synergy of polio eradication program with country’s routine immunization program so that immunity level of the communities was enhanced and gains made by polio campaigns were sustained.