WHO, UNICEF applaud Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate polio

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Islamabad

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) have lauded the Government of Pakistan’s continued efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis from the country.

The UN agencies commended the concerted efforts made to make sure vaccination programmes continued even during COVID-19 surges in the country.

Both agencies urged for greater solidarity and more investment to sustain the momentum and reach every child with life-saving vaccines.

These reflections were made by UNICEF South Asia Regional Director George Laryea-Adjei and WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari as they concluded a week-long joint visit to Pakistan.

The visit coincides with the first Polio Oversight Board visit to the country, and the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s new 2022-2026 strategy.

UNICEF Regional Director George Laryea-Adjei said “We know that the most important relationship in polio eradication is between the vaccinator and the child’s family. Without communication and trust, there is no vaccination.”

“This week, I have seen a renewed focus on bolstering that relationship in the most high-risk areas of Pakistan.

I appreciate the huge role played by frontline works in building that trust, and the support provided by the Government and partners to these front line workers. I leave Pakistan filled with hope that all hands are on deck to finish the last mile in the journey to eradicate polio in the country.”

Commenting on this mission, WHO Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari said, “I have witnessed a back-to-basics approach to raise campaign quality and most importantly the need for laser focus on repeatedly missed children by provincial Health Ministers and Chief Secretaries – this is the only way we will slash the number of missed children down to zero.”—APP

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