Pakistan committed to polio  eradication says Health Minister

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President Global Development Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Christopher J. Elias calls on Federal Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr. Nadeem

DNA

ISLAMABAD: President Global Development Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Christopher J. Elias called on Federal Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr. Nadeem Jan on the sidelines of 70th Session of the WHO’s Regional Committee in Cairo.

Deputy Director BMGF Michael Galway, and Director Pak-Afghan hub Hamid Jaffery were also present in the meeting.

Dr. Nadeem Jan reiterated that Pakistan has applied whole of governance’ approach towards polio eradication.

 He informed that the Prime Minister in recent Task Force meeting has issued stern directives on addressing the boycott and ensuring safe environment for the polio workers in high risk zones. He mentioned that communication strategy is being revamped to address the chronic issue of persistent refusal and fake fingermarking. He also informed about the establishment of localised operational hub for stopping the wild poliovirus circulation in high risk zones, particularly South Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He informed that the Prime Minister and the entire government’s civil and military machinery have shown utmost dedication and commitment for making Pakistan polio free.

 Mr. Christopher J. Elias said that Pakistan has made considerable performance towards eradication of polio. Discussing about the work of National Task Force on polio eradication, the Federal Minister said that the authorities are taking strategic direction with strong decisions in dealing with poliovirus. Renewed outreach has started in the wake of YB3A strain from Afghanistan, and the scope of health camps will be expanded in high risk zones, the Federal Minister added. It was stressed to enhance access of polio workers, improve performance management & accountability, and implementing a robust communication strategy. Mr. Christopher J. Elias requested for reconvening the meeting of National Task Force on Polio Eradication in October to streamline strategy implementation. Federal Minister Dr. Nadeem Jan informed that Pakistan is gearing up for HPV anti-cancer vaccine in March 2024. Chris Elias extended his appreciation for spade work on the vaccine and congratulated the Federal Minister for taking this initiative. The Fedral Minister informed that Pakistan will be launching Hepatitis C elimination Program soon.

The Federal Minister said that Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation leadership has been invited for participation in Global Health Security Summit in Islamabad. Both the sides agreed on joint efforts for eradication of polio from Pakistan.