Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Polio Chairman Dr Jean Marc Olivé on Saturday urged the government to go extra mile to free Pakistan from the crippling disease.
Chairing the concluding session of TAG here, he said Pakistan was 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 was delivering results.
“I urge everyone to continue the work they have been doing. Karachi and Peshawar are the primary areas of concern for the programme, and this is where the extra efforts are needed,” he said.
Dr Olivé also appreciated the work of polio frontline workers who work tirelessly 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.
The group met on Jan 11-12 in Islamabad to assess the programme progress, opportunities and the remaining challenges towards achieving the goal of stopping transmission of the poliovirus.
Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Babar Bin Atta said the government was committed to eradicating the poliovirus.
“I suggest that all parents should ensure that their children would be vaccinated. Civil society, media and religious scholars should also play their role to create awareness. I am hopeful the virus would be completely eradicated from Pakistan during year 2019,” he said.
Director General Ministry of National Health Services Dr Asad Hafeez said though the last mile to eradicate the virus was most difficult the government was committed to doing so.
National Coordinator Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Dr Rana Safdar said children who were missed during the campaigns become reason for the spread of poliovirus.
“However we are focussing more on the areas where poliovirus is present and hope that things will improve soon,” he said.