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We cannot let our guard down now: Ayesha Raza

Praising the valuable contributions made by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in polio eradication, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said that ‘after having reached so close to eradication, we cannot afford to let our guards down’ and will make sure that every child across the country is administered  polio drops in the future.

The Pakistani government is highly indebted to IsDB for its support and acknowledges its support at all national and international forums, Ayesha said while talking to a delegation of IsDB visiting National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC).

The IsDB delegation was led by Dr. Sadik Mohammad Teyeb and other senior health specialists associated with the bank.

She said even though significant progress on a national level had been made in eliminating the virus but there was still room for improvement. “By no means, our job is finished yet and we will not rest until polio virus is completely rooted out of our country,” she said, urging parents and communities to ensure vaccination of their children during all polio campaigns.

Earlier, the delegation was given a detailed briefing by EOC National Coordinator Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar regarding the current polio situation and the way country programme was addressing the challenges.

He shared that currently Quetta has the most number of polio cases in the country, with four cases reported so far in 2017. He also shared the programmes recently initiated by the government to strengthen surveillance and routine immunization across high-risk mobile populations. “We are efficiently monitoring the presence of polio virus in sewerage samples from 53 strategically-selected sites which is the largest environmental surveillance network ever established by any country,” said Dr Rana.

Pakistan values Japan’s support in vaccine procurement

The delegation also visited the control room of the national EOC and vaccine storage facilities of the federal EPI.

“We are immensely pleased by the progress made by Pakistan to eliminate the virus and vowed to share the country’s experience with other Islamic countries to help them eliminate the disease”, Sadik said, adding that IsDB will continue to support Pakistan’s Polio Programme.

Reporter. We cannot let our guard down now: Ayesha Raza. The Express Tribune, August 9, 2017.

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