PESHAWAR: Caretaker Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Muhammad Azam Khan, via video-link attended a meeting of National Task Force on Polio Eradication held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister of Pakistan Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday to discuss matter how to make the National Polio Program more effective and result-oriented.
Chief Ministers of other provinces and other relevant high ups also attended the meeting. Talking on this occasion, caretaker Chief Minister, Muhammad Azam Khan reiterated the resolve of the provincial government to make Khyber Pakhtunkhwa polio free, and said that well-coordinated efforts are being made to this end in the province which are yielding encouraging results.
Azam Khan informed the forum that in the year 2014, there were a total of 247 cases of polio in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which were reduced to 93 in the year 2019 whereas, at present there are only two active cases of polio in the province which has been possible because of the tireless efforts of the relevant departments and organizations adding that, however, our goal is complete eradication of polio virus from the province for which serious efforts are underway.
Lauding the efforts of health department, civil administration, police, army and the partner organizations, Azam Khan said the role of frontline polio workers had been remarkable is fighting the menace.
The Chief Minister further informed that since June 2022, a total of 14 various anti-polio drives were launched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa whereas a fresh drive under the National Immunization Drive (NID) has been launched in the province from 2nd October as elsewhere in the country, adding that the provincial government would put in its best to achieve cent percent targets of the drive.
Touching upon the challenges with regard to polio eradication in the province, Azam Khan remarked that due to the peculiar geographic situation of the province, it faces some challenges in polio eradication, but the provincial government, in collaboration with all the stakeholders taking measures to overcome those challenges.
He informed that in order to prevent the cross boarder transfer of polio virus from Afghanistan, five various boarder points had been established along the Pak-Afghan border to ensure polio drops to every crossing child adding that consistence presence of Wild Polio Virus in the environmental sample of Peshawar is of serious concern, and measures are being taken to address the issue on permanent basis.
Stressing the need of removing the misperceptions of some people about polio drops, Azam Khan termed the role of religious scholars (Ulamas) as of vital importance, and suggested to develop a well-devised strategy to engage local Ulemas to educate the people so that the polio program could be made more effective and result-oriented.