Polio free Pakistan to be ensured: Dr Faisal

SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRIME MINISTER ON NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, REGULATIONS AND COORDINATION, DR. FAISAL SULTAN CHAIRED A HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON POLIO AT NATIONAL EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER, ISLAMABAD.

ISLAMABAD, Sep 02 (APP):Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan on Wednesday assured full support to the polio eradication programme to reach out every child with all essential vaccines.

Chairing a high-level meeting at the National Emergency Operations Center for Polio Eradication Dr Faisal Sultan lauded the efforts being made to make Pakistan polio-free.

He said that polio eradication is the top-most priority of the government as polio affects the future generations.

Expressing serious concern over the polio cases, Dr Sultan urged joint working of the EPI and PEI programmes at all levels to quickly plug the wide immunity gap for all vaccine preventable diseases including polio.

He said that systematic mechanism to monitor community sentiments form the basis of an effective awareness campaigns.

Dr Faisal stressed upon the need to proactively involve all segments of society to play their part in eradication of polio virus, once and for all.

He emphasized that without the continued support of parents, a polio-free Pakistan cannot be achieved.

Commenting on the results of the recent campaigns, Dr Faisal lauded the commitment of front line polio workers, who braved all odds to undertake house-to-house vaccination during hot and humid weather of July – August in order to protect them from the crippling polio disease.

Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Center presented a comprehensive review of the polio situation in Pakistan focusing current risks and challenges as well as the strategies and approaches being adopted to overcome them.

He said that the programme conducted a forensic analysis of the significant polio upsurge in 2019 and based on the same, a transformation process was initiated.

Promoting the sense of collective responsibility, door to door vaccination was successfully resumed with nationwide campaigns in December 2019 and February 2020’, Dr Safdar remarked.

Sharing results of the July and August campaigns conducted after COVID pause, the National Coordinator also highlighted initiatives undertaken to address community perceptions and stressed the need of ensuring essential vaccination during COVID.

“The programme engaged with religious leaders, local and social media influencers, celebrities and media personnel to promote vaccination based on scientific facts and counter anti-vaccine propaganda.”

The “Sehat Tahaffuz Helpline 1166” provided direct and credible information on vaccinations as well as the COVID-19, he said.

Senior programme officials while thanking Dr. Sultan for his support to the programme reaffirmed their resolve to optimally utilize the upcoming vaccination campaigns over the next few months as the opportunity to push the virus back setting the stage to stop the polio virus circulation across the country.

The programme aims to vaccinate almost 40 million under five children in the next nationwide campaign scheduled to start from 21st September utilizing a workforce pf almost 270,000 across all provinces and areas.