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    Technical Advisory Group Commends Pakistan for Progress in Polio Situation

    Chitral Times Report


    ISLAMABAD: The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on polio eradication concluded its five-day technical field consultation, commending the Government of Pakistan for the progress in the polio situation while highlighting that the remaining challenges within core reservoirs require exceptional efforts to end polio once and for all. The Group met on 8-10 January in Karachi and on 11-12 in Islamabad to assess the programme progress, opportunities, and the remaining challenges towards achieving the goal of stopping transmission of the poliovirus. In its final session today, the TAG noted that the current programme momentum remains the best we have ever seen in Pakistan, and concluded that the programme is on the right track to eradicate polio in the near future. Providing detailed feedback during today’s meeting with participants including representatives of the Government of Pakistan, partners and donors, TAG Chair Dr Jean Marc Olivé appreciated the sustained commitment of the Government of Pakistan to polio eradication efforts, following a smooth political transition. “Pakistan is in a good position to stop polio in the very near future, with the exceptional political commitment, strong coordination under the umbrella of Emergency Operations Centre, and a strategy – the National Emergency Action Plan – which is delivering results. I urge everyone to continue the great work they have been doing and go the extra mile to free this country from polio. Karachi and Peshawar are the primary areas of concern for the programme, and this is where the extra efforts are needed”, he said. Congratulating the Government of Pakistan on the successful implementation of the recent measles campaign helping protect more than 38 million children against the disease, members of the TAG urged that Pakistan must simultaneously improve the delivery of essential immunization all across, particularly in areas of greatest concern for polio transmission including Karachi, Peshawar and the Quetta block. TAG members also appreciated the work of polio frontline workers who work tirelessly and selflessly in all weather conditions, and across all terrains, to ensure that each and every child in every community is vaccinated and fully protected from polio. Prime Minister Focal Person for Polio Eradication Mr Babar Bin Atta appreciated the TAG recommendations and said: “The country team will put all the effort into making sure these recommendations are implemented. I am confident that with the level of commitment which we have right now, we will finish polio in Pakistan very soon.” Speaking on behalf of Ministry for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Dr Asad Hafeez, Director General Health said: “I appreciate that the last mile to polio eradication is the most difficult one but on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, I reiterate our resolve to end polio. We will work tirelessly together to achieve this goal, and will provide all the requisite oversight, ownership and accountability necessary to do so.” A high level delegation of the Government of Pakistan and key partner agencies to the Polio Eradication Initiative joined the closing session of the TAG including :Dr Asad Hafeez, Director General Health; Representatives of Provincial Governments including Hanif Khan Pitafi, Health Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Health Minister Sindh, Mir Naseebullah Khan, Health Minister Balochistan, Dr. Farooq Jamil Secretary Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; WHO Pakistan Representative Dr Ni’ma Saeed Abid, and UNICEF Pakistan Representative Ms Aida Girma, among others. *


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