President chairs meeting on Polio Eradication, administers polio drops to children

ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain has called upon all stakeholders, Public and Private and general public to come forward and contribute their share by actively participating in the Nationwide Polio Campaign for the year 2014 that kicked off yesterday to make Pakistan free of the debilitating disease of polio.

The President said this while chairing a meeting on Polio Eradication in the country at the Presidency. The President on the occasion also participated in the First Nationwide Polio Campaign 2014 by administering polio drops to children. Those present during the meeting include among others Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar, Minister of States for National Health Services Regulations Coordination, Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Mr. Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, Secretary, National Health Services Regulations Coordination, Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, National Coordinator, PM’s Polio Monitoring & Coordination Cell, Dr. Altaf Bosan, National Technical Focal Person, PM’s Polio Monitoring & Coordination Cell , Dr. Nima Saeed Abid, WHO Representative to Pakistan , Dr Elias Durry, WHO Country Polio Team Leader, and Mr. Dan Rohrmann, UNICEF Representative to Pakistan.

Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq, PM’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication briefed the meeting on the salient features of the Nationwide Polio Eradication Campaign 2014 and the various initiatives and gaps where special efforts are required besides steps being taken by the government for making Pakistan a polio free country. She apprised that more than 34 million children are going to be vaccinated across the country during the recent campaign and over 200,000 workers and supervisors are involved in the immunization drive. She said that Polio Control Rooms have been established a district, provincial and federal levels to closely monitor daily progress of the campaign.

At the outset of the meeting, the President strongly condemned the incident of firing on Polio workers in Karachi today that resulted into the loss of precious human lives including two female workers who were busy in administering polio drops to the infants in Karachi East area of Qayyumabad.

Expressing heartfelt condolences with the bereaved families, the President said that such heinous and cowardly attacks cannot deter our commitment rather further strengthen our resolve to continue the ongoing fight against Polio.

The President said that despite immense security challenges, Pakistan remains strongly committed to polio eradication and every possible step at all levels will be taken to stamp out the crippling disease from every corner of the country.

The President while referring to his meeting with tribal elders during the grand tribal Jirga at Peshawar early this month said that he had advised the Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA secretariat to engage local community especially the imams and Ulema, religious scholars and the tribal elders in the fight against polio and persuading the parents to vaccinate their children against polio. The President said that local solutions in accordance with local traditions and norms can produce better results especially in FATA in reaching out to the children for anti polio vaccination.

The President on the occasion stressed all concerned for providing full security cover to the workers involved in the Polio Campaign as we cannot allow anyone to target those working to protect the health of our future generation.

The President while reiterating his personal and government’s unflinching support and commitment towards eradication of the menace of polio from Pakistan said that we shall not rest till every child is immunized in the country and the polio is completely eradicated from Pakistan.

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