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Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif vows to eradicate polio in six months

Nawaz Sharif

Islamabad, Nov 5 (PTI) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today vowed to eradicate polio in six months from Pakistan, the worst polio affected country in the world, and said any laxity in giving vaccination shall be considered as a crime against future generations.

With Polio affecting a record 235 people this year in Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif chaired a Steering Committee meeting on combating the crippling disease in Islamabad. The meeting was attended by chief minister, senior government official, representatives of World Health Organisation and other international bodies. Sharif vowed to make the country polio-free in six months, Radio Pakistan reported. Sharif said the future of children is at stake and his government will not spare any effort to protect them.

“We face challenges like inaccessibility, terrorism and misconception in tribal areas about the campaign,” he said. The Prime Minister said the federal government, armed forces and civil society stand united in the drive against polio. He said Pakistan shares the concerns of international community on polio, but it should also understand our issues. Sharif said Pakistan has faced many problems in the anti-polio drive as the frontline health workers have been targeted by the militants. He said a military operation is successfully underway to flush out the militants.

“We have also seen some breakthroughs in the polio eradication campaign with children of South and North Waziristan are now being immunized,” he said. The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan is a responsible nation and committed to vaccinate all children and the international travelers in compliance with world health regulations.

He said he is personally monitoring the anti-polio campaign and getting fortnightly briefings. On this occasion, Japan assured to provide five hundred and fifty million rupees to Pakistan while Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation thirty-seven billion rupees for polio eradication campaign.

The meeting reviewed anti-polio measures and future strategy to eradicate polio from the county. Polio is still endemic in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The World Health Organisation in May imposed travel restriction on Pakistan. Children in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas cannot be vaccinated as the outlawed Taliban has banned the campaigns since June 2012.

Sajjad Hussain


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