Federal and Provincial Ministers vow to eradicate polio by 2016

Peshawar: The Federal and provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are not only committed to eradicate polio virus from the country but also making concerted and resulted-oriented efforts to this effect, and all the available resources are being utilized to ensure the eradication of polio by the year 2016.

This was stated by federal minister of State for Health Services, Saira Afzal Tarar and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister for Health Shahram Tarakai in a joint press conference held here on Wednesday.

The Federal Minister lauded the efforts of the provincial government for the eradication of polio virus from the province saying that “Sehat Ka Insaf” and Sehat Ka Ittehad” programme initiated by the KP Government have yielded encouraging and impressive results as there has been a considerable reduction in polio cases in the province as compared to the last year.

She assured all out support of the federal government to the provincial government in its efforts to root out polio from the province saying that the federal government will extend all financial and technical support to the provincial government to make its polio campaigns success stories.

Saira Afzal revealed that the federal government in consultation and collaboration with the federating units, was working to propound a comprehensive “National Health Vision” to be finalized very soon which would give a road map to formulate effective strategies to eradicate polio and all other fatal disease and ensure their implementation in letter and spirit.

In his address to the press conference, the provincial Health Minister termed the issue of polio virus as a national issue of grave concern and said that though Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was facing many other issues of grave concern but still eradication of polio virus was on its top priority.

While reiterating the commitment of the provincial in this regard, Shahram Khan said that “Sehat Ka Insaf” and “Sehat Ka Ittehad” programmes undertaken by the provincial government to eradicate polio were the manifestation of the commitment of his government adding that as a result of these programme there has been a reduction of 46 per cent in polio case in the province as compared to the last year.

“It was not possible for the provincial and federal governments to overcome the issue alone rather all the relevant bodies, individuals and public should make coordinated efforts and shoulder the governments’ efforts to eradicate the menace of polio from the country”, Shahram Khan stressed.

He pointed out that majority of the polio cases have been detected in provincial capital which is due to the huge influx of refugees from Afghanistan and the adjacent tribal areas. He urged that the federal government should play its due role in this regard.

Earlier, the federal and provincial ministers chaired a high level meeting regarding polio eradication in Civil Secretariat Peshawar. The meeting was attended by Focal Person, Prime Minister’s Programme for the Eradication of Polio, Ayesha Farooq, Chief Secretary KP, Amjad Ali Khan, representatives of Pak Army, Police, UNICEF and WHO, high ups of health and Home Departments and all the Deputy Commissioners of the province.

The meeting discussed in detail matters related to the implementation of National Emergency Action Plan 2015-16, preparations for the upcoming polio campaigns in the province, security issues of polio workers, timely payment of stipends to polio workers, ensuring maximum coverage in the upcoming polio drives, provision of funds for the purpose and other issues.

The Deputy Commissioners of all districts were directed to review micro plans of polio campaign in their respective district and ensure maximum coverage with special focus on chronic refusal cases.

The meeting stressed the need to involve the newly elected local bodies member in the polio campaign in order to achieve cent per cent results. The Chief Secretary directed the concerned quarters to constitute a committee headed by Secretary Health to ensure timely payment to the polio workers.

The Home Department was asked to chalk out fool proof security plan for the security of polio vaccinators during the campaigns. The chair stressed the need of focusing special attention on the high risk union councils of the province.

Meanwhile, in another meeting of the federal minister with the provincial health department matters related to the proposed “Nation Vision for Health” status of National Health Insurance Programme in the provinces and routine immunization came under discussion and important decisions were made.

Provision of funds by the federal government to the province for the vertical programmes of health was another important issue discussed in the meeting.

The provincial government demanded the federal government to fulfil its commitment with regard to provision of funds for the salaries of Lady Health Workers. The federal minister assured that she will take up the case with relevant quarters of the federal government and will make all out efforts to fulfil this genuine demand of the provincial government.