Chief Secretary Naveed Akram Cheema said on Tuesday no polio cases had been reported in the province this year. He said this reflected good performance on the part of relevant departments. Cheema asked the District Coordination Officers (DCO) and Health Department officers to sustain their efforts to keep the province polio-free.
Cheema was presiding over a meeting on Tuesday to review the action plan for polio-eradication.
Health Secretary Ijaz Munir briefed the meeting about the current situation and steps taken for eradication of polio. He said this year eight polio cases had been reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 44 in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and four in Sindh. He said so far no polio case had been reported in the Punjab.
Munir said additional technical support had been provided in Lahore and Rawalpindi districts.
He said line departments had been engaged to administer polio drops at permanent check posts set up at border districts. He said more than 70,000 children had been vaccinated at the permanent check posts on entering the province.
The chief secretary said all departments and officers had to continue their efforts till polio was completely eradicated. He said special attention should be paid to high risk districts.
Minister of State Saira Afzal Tarar appreciated the provincial government’s efforts towards polio eradication. She said the polio vaccine was precious and should not be wasted.
Ayesha Raza Farooq, the focal person for polio, said that although Punjab was a model province, polio eradication would require more effort.
Khawaja Salman Rafiq said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was committed to making the Punjab a model province with respect to the provision of health facilities and disease control. He directed the district officers to ensure the administration of polio drops to children travelling on buses and trains. He said polio teams should also administer drops in Afghan displaced people’s camps for the complete eradication of polio.
The international partners present at the meeting expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the Punjab government directed towards polio eradication
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2014.