Islamabad: President Mamnoon Hussain has reiterated unwavering commitment of the present government to protect the children from polio and eventually eradicating the crippling disease from all parts of the country and said that the government has declared polio eradication a health emergency.
The president said this while chairing a briefing on polio eradication campaigns and the latest situation in the efforts for stamping out the disease. The meeting was also attended by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governer Engineer ShaukatUllah Khan, prime minister’s focal person on polio eradication Ayesha Raza Farooq, National Health Services Regulations & Coordination Secretary Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, FATA Additional Chief Secretary Arbab Muhammad Arif, and National Technical Focal Person Altaf Bosan.
Ayesha Farooq briefed the meeting on latest polio situation, the polio campaigns and the various steps taken by the government for eradicating polio from Pakistan.
She informed that in each of the national polio drives, around 34 million children are being vaccinated. Arbab Arif apprised the meeting about the various strategies and innovative approaches being employed by the FATA Secretariat for polio eradication in all the seven agencies and six FRs of FATA. He informed that a new transit strategy was being introduced to cover the children moving out of and into FATA through special polio teams. He added that the transit points had been established to vaccinate these children.
The president stressed further strengthening the special civil-military coordination mechanism in FATA and directed the FATA task force, established under the leadership of KP governer to undertake all necessary steps to ensure consistent reach to all the children for polio vaccination. He also called upon the authorities to ensure that challenges in FATA, especially North and South Waziristan, where a ban is clamped on the polio campaigns by certain groups, are met with locally appropriate solutions and in accordance with local traditions and norms.
The president reiterated for engaging local populace, especially the influential people including khateebs and ulema, religious scholars and the tribal elders in the fight against polio and persuading people to allow the vaccination in the interest of their own children.
Dilating on security situation, the president said that despite immense security challenges especially in FATA, Pakistan remains firmly committed to the eradication of polio and every possible step at all levels will be taken to stamp out the crippling disease from every corner of the country. He urged all the relevant authorities to provide full security cover to the workers involved in the polio campaign and said that we cannot allow anyone to target those working to protect the health of our children.
He expressed his concerns over the rising number of polio cases in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and said that he would not tolerate any negligence in this regard.
While reaffirming his personal patronage and government’s unflinching commitment to polio eradication the president noted that we all shall not rest till every child of the age of five year or below is immunised in the country and the polio is completely eradicated from Pakistan.
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