Azam Khan reiterates resolve to make KP polio free

Peshawar  -   Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan, via video-link, attended a meeting of National Task Force on polio eradication held under the chairmanship of caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan Anwar- ul-Haq Kakar on Monday to discuss matter how to make the National Polio Programme more effective and result-oriented.

Chief Ministers of other provinces and other relevant high ups also attended the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, KP Caretaker Chief Minister 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 organisations. “Our goal is complete eradication of polio virus from the province for which serious efforts are underway.”

Lauding the efforts of the Health Department, civil administration, police, army and the partner organizations, Azam Khan said the role of frontline polio workers had been remarkable in fighting the menace. The Chief Minister further said 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. The provincial government, he said, 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, and the provincial government, in collaboration with all stakeholders taking measures to overcome those challenges.

He said 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 (Ulema) as of vital importance, and suggested to develop a well-devised strategy to engage local Ulema to educate the people so that the polio programme could be made more effective and result- oriented.

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