PESHAWAR: Minister of State for Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar said Monday security issues in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata could not deter the determination of the government in the fight against polio and the time was not for away when Pakistan will achieve a polio free status.
Talking to media persons after presiding over a high-level meeting on polio eradication programmes of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata here at the Office of Chief Secretary KP, the State Minister said 90 percent polio cases were reported from those areas of KP and Fata where there was a problem of security. “The security situation in KP and Fata could not be compared with other areas of Pakistan. However, together we can make a big difference,” she remarked. Saira said Government was well aware of the security problems in KP and Fata and that security issues raised during this meeting would be raised before PM’s special cabinet committee on polio eradication.
She urged PTI Chief Imran Khan to come forward and lead polio vaccination campaigns in his province where his party is in power, adding Imran Khan active participation would create awareness among people against this crippling disease.She said although Seht Ka Insaf programme remained effective but one time intervention to get rid of polio was not enough, saying continuous immunization are necessary to raise immunity level of children.She said special campaigns would be launched in about 160 high risks union councils of KP with an assistance of provincial government and deprived children, IDPs kids would be track down for vaccination. She said it has been noted that 99% polio cases were reported in children below two years of age.She said KP Government and Fata administration presented a solid plan against polio that would produce good results after implementation.
Saira Afzal Tarar said Chief Secretary KP has assured to take strict disciplinary action against officials found guilty in negligence of duty during polio vaccination campaigns while the Deputy Commissioners would be transferred for not meeting their targets. It would be mandatory for the top hierarchy of Health Department and the district administration to monitor and supervise polio campaigns on grounds to enhance efficiency of he field staff besides motivate general public. “The commitment shown by senior officers at highest level in Karachi produced excellent results against polio,” she remarked. Under EPI Manager, she said, a committee was constituted to submit recommendations for solutions of problems related to vaccine and payments etc. Asked about repatriation of FC platoon to KP, the State Minister said this issue was raised by the Chief Secretary KP during the meeting that would be taken up with the Federal Government. The Federal Government in collaboration with Provincial Government would provide foolproof security to teams of inoculators. The Minister said Federal Government would extend full support to the provincial government regarding provision of vaccine. “There was no way to justify even a single polio case in the province,” she remarked. She urged the KP Health Department to show more efficiency for effective surveillance of anti-polio campaigns. Asked about vaccination of children in border areas, the Minister said it was the responsibility of both Pakistan and Afghanistan Governments to work together against polio that has no border and continent. She said the Federal Govt has established permanent transit points in its border areas for vaccination of children. She said an evolving fund would be established for quick payments to polio eradication programmes.Earlier, the Chief Secretary KP, Amjad Ali Khan assured full support of KP Government to the Federal Govt and law enforcement agencies for eradication of polio.
The meeting was informed that special immunization campaign in Razmak North Waziristan Agency and Bara Khyber Agency would soon be launched after completion of the military operations there. Vaccination campaigns in North Waziristan and South Waziristan agencies besides Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency was also planned. A two days orientation session against polio would also start for Commissioners and DCs from Nov 24-25. Due to Government’s effective measures, no polio case has been reported in Orakzai, Kurram, Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies from the last two years. The PM’s focal person on polio eradication, Ayesha Raza Farooq suggested close coordination with field staff including social mobalizers, LHWs, effective supervision of vaccination campaigns by Deputy Commissioners, vaccination of deprived children, IDPs kids and enhancement of independent monitoring level of coverage and removing the threat perception. Chief Secretary KP Amjad Ali Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Muhammad Azam Khan, Health Secretary Akbar Khan Durrani Secretary, administrative secretaries, Commissioners, DC Peshawar and other high ups also attended the meeting.