Islamabad, October 30, 2012 (PPI-OT): President Asif Ali Zardari today while reiterating Government’s commitment to undertake all efforts for complete eradication of polio virus from the country advised the concerned authorities to follow innovative strategies in reaching out to those populace and places that were still serving as reservoir of the virus and have so far remained under-served due to various reasons.
He said there was no reason why polio virus transmission can not be interrupted in the province if effective implementation of innovative approaches with optimum utilization of resources and proper vigilance is ensured.
This he said while addressing a specially convened meeting here at Bilawal House Karachi to review the current situation vis-à-vis Polio eradication efforts in Sindh.
Those who were present during the meeting included among others Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Federal Minister for Inter-provincial coordination, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, SAPM / PM’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication, provincial ministers, concerned government officials and representatives of international partners against the polio disease.
The President advised the provincial governments and the concerned authorities to consider setting up permanent booths, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, at all transit points of the provinces when attention of the meeting was drawn towards the fact that a large number of migrant population was among the major reasons for many children being left unattended during polio vaccination campaigns that are launched from time to time.
The meeting was informed that Sindh province reported a total of 33 polio cases in 2011 compared to 27 polio cases in 2010. The province has reported 3 type-1 polio cases so far in 2012 from Hyderabad, Larkana and Mirpur Khas districts.
It was informed that overall provincial vaccination coverage by finger marking in Sindh province was 98%. All the districts/towns had 95% vaccination coverage by finger marking with the exception of Orangi, Liaqatabad and Gulberg towns of Karachi.
The meeting was apprised that according to a Market survey conducted in all the districts/towns of Sindh province, overall finger marking coverage in Sindh was 95% except Shikarpur, Karachi and Tharparkar. Karachi showed more than 90% vaccination coverage by finger marking except a few areas that included Orangi, Liaqatabad, North Nazimabad, Bin Qasim, Keamari and SITE.
The President in his address emphasized that polio eradication was doable job and he sees no reason as to why this crippling disease can not be permanently eliminated from the country. He said that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto formally launched polio eradication campaign in the country and the first child to be immunized against this disease was her own daughter Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari who is now Ambassador for polio eradication.
The President directed the provincial government and the concerned authorities to especially focus on addressing epidemiological challenges that included the presence of wild polio virus in the sewerage water and the immunity gap and performance failures in some parts of the metropolitan.
He emphasized that special attention be paid to high risk population where vaccination activities have remained sub-optimal so far and necessitates essential modification in the overall strategy.
He also said that special attention be paid to raising awareness about this crippling disease in far flung areas of the province where the literacy rate was low and people don’t have access to adequate medical facilities.
The President while urging all the concerned to undertake every effort and use all available resources to ensure that every child was reached during polio vaccination campaigns advised the Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners of the province to personally monitor the campaigns and ensure that all the issues in reaching out to maximum population are addressed.
He also thanked the international community for assisting Pakistan in polio eradication.
The President reiterated Government’s commitment to provide security to the international health teams which were helping the people and the Government in eliminating polio virus from the country.
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