Meeting of the National Polio Management Team: The war against polio is yet to be won

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Bhurban, 10 June 2017 - The National Polio Management Team (NPMT) met in Bhurban on 8 and 9 June to review the progress of Pakistan’s National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) on polio eradication and to chalk out the programme’s critical steps for the remainder of 2017.

 

In her opening remarks, the Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, thanked members of the NPMT for their sustained commitment, recognizing their unique position to lead and enable the programme. “Your involvement with your teams has been critical in achieving our success to date - your strong leadership and drive for results is clearly showing us how collective efforts do make a difference for all the children of Pakistan.” 

 

With the goal of ending polio in Pakistan is in sight, Government’s commitment to the implementation of NEAP via focused Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) at national and provincial levels has been the driving force behind the recent progress. Thanks to the EOCs and the one-team approach, the programme is now driven by high-quality data, and comprehensive real-time risk assessment and monitoring resulting in better campaign quality and better response to outbreaks. The growing community trust and high levels of acceptance and intent to vaccinate amongst caregivers and parents in the core reservoirs has been a key factor in turning the tide. Consequently, the number of children paralysed by the wild poliovirus has dropped from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015 to 20 in 2016 and only two cases so far in 2017.

 

Appreciating the collective effort that have brought the success this far, Senator Farooq said “the last cases that came from the core reservoirs – were in Karachi and Khyber-Peshawar in early 2016, and from Quetta Block the last case was in December 2016. In addition, since September 2016, outbreaks have been effectively contained. The credit for reaching this stage goes to all of you here, your teams and all our front-line workers who continue to brave all odds to ensure that no child is missed”. “There are no magic solutions to ending transmission of the poliovirus, just really hard work, enlisting community and parents’ support to overcoming the remaining barriers and a focus on the basics to ensure success by our front line workers on the doorstep and inside the homes of more than 37 million children.” underlined Senator Farooq.