We cannot let our guards down now: Senator Ayesha Raza

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Islamic Development Bank pledges continuous support to Polio Program till the end

 

Islamabad, 8 August, 2017: Praising the valuable contributions made by Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in polio eradication, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said that “after having reached so close to eradication, we cannot afford to let our guards down and will make sure that every child across the country is administered two polio drops in every next campaign.”

 

The Senator said that Government of Pakistan is highly indebted to IsDB for its support and acknowledges the critical support of the bank for the noble cause of Polio eradication at all national and international forums. Senator was talking to a delegation of IsDB visiting National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC). The IsDB delegation was led by Dr Sadik Mohammad Teyeb, senior health specialist of the bank from Jeddah and Inamullah Khan Country Representative of the Bank in Pakistan. Dedicated teams of Sehat Muhafiz, national and global partners led by the EOC structures and political leadership across political parties has brought about a big turn-around in the program. “But by no means our job is finished yet and will not rest till polio is rooted out of our country,” she said while urging the parents and communities to ensure vaccination of their children in routine as well as during campaigns.

The delegation was also given a detailed briefing by Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, National Coordinator on current Polio situation and the way country programme was tackling the remaining challenges. Quetta block is currently the hottest spot in Pakistan as part of southern Corridor closely linked with Kandhar and Hilmand provinces in Afghanistan reporting 4 cases in 2017, he shared. He informed the delegation that besides maintaining highest immunity levels, to mitigate the risk from across the border, Pakistan and Afghanistan programs are closely coordinating for high quality synchronized immunization activities for the bordering populations. He also shared recent programme initiatives to further strengthen surveillance and routine Immunization as well as consistently reaching the high-risk mobile populations. “We are efficiently monitoring the presence of Polio virus in sewerage samples from 53 strategically selected sites spread across the country the largest ever environmental surveillance network established by any country,” said Dr Rana.

The delegation also visited Control Room of the national EOC and vaccine storage facilities of the federal EPI. “We are immensely pleased by the Pakistan’s progress towards the goal of virus interruption and find an opportunity to use country’s experience with other Islamic countries for the benefit of similar public health service delivery initiatives”, Dr. Sadik stated. He also reaffirmed the IsDB continuous support to Pakistan Polio Programme all the way through.

The current epidemiology in the country is quite promising with only 3 Polio cases reported in 2017 compared to 14 reported by 7th August in 2016. Of most significance is the progress made in the core reservoirs of Karachi and Khyber-Peshawar which have not reported any Polio case since January and February 2016 respectively whereas in Quetta block, one polio case has been reported in 2017 from Killa Abdullah.