Peshawar-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health & Finance, Taimur Jhagra has said that the government is committed to eradicating the polio virus from the region and underlined the need for tailored strategies to cater to ground challenges.

He said this while co-chairing Provincial Task Force Meeting (PTF) on Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) along with Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shahzad Bangash here Monday at Cabinet Room Civil Secretariat.

National Emergency Operation Centre Representative, Col Asjad Baloch, Rep of HQ 11 Corps, AIG Police, Muhammad Ali Babakhel, Special Secretary Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dr Farooq, Secretary E&SE, Mohtasim Billah, Secretary Population Welfare, all commissioners, all deputy commissioners, Additional Secretary Health (Polio) Asif Raheem, Deputy Coordinator Zeeshan Khan, Team Leads WHO, UNICEF, N stop, Technical Focal Person EOC Dr Imtiaz Shah and relevant officials from Home Department, Finance Dept and Health Dept were also present on the occasion.

Mr Jhagra said that reporting polio cases in the province is a wake-up call that needs remedial measures on a war footing. He asked program managers to encourage district teams to highlight real issues and challenges including fake finger marking and missed children so that they can be addressed by adopting tailored strategies.

Earlier, speaking to the forum, Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shahzad Bangash thanked technical partners and all line departments, especially the Army and Police for their sacrifices and support for the national cause of polio eradication. He said that of late multiple challenges are confronted in interrupting virus circulation in the province, yet the government is determined to overcome these challenges and will succeed in achieving the goal.

Chief Secretary appreciated incentivized approach in the southern districts of the province saying that it should continue and strongly recommended disciplinary action against poor performers across the board along with real-time data reflecting the true picture of missed children. NEOC acknowledged the leadership of the Chief Secretary, political commitment and support of the district administrations, and line departments that are critical for the success of the program. He said that good-quality campaigns were very important to stop virus circulation and added that reporting refusals were not a problem but part of the solution.

Earlier, Additional Secretary Health (Polio), Asif Raheem gave a detailed presentation on the readiness status of the August campaign, saying that the campaign has been prepared in the province because of virus isolation from the environmental sites in Nowshera, Swat, Peshawar and Bannu districts.

A total of 3,016 trained teams have been constituted to administer fIPV to children at the outreach centres whereas 5,221 teams were formed for the administration of OPV, he added.

He said that the second phase of the campaign will be carried out in 29 districts wherein more than 6.2 million children will be immunized against polio for which a total of 25,485 teams have been established out of which 22,810 were mobile teams, 1,631 fixed, 933 transit teams and 111 were roaming teams.

Earlier, Minister for Health Taimur Jhagra and Chief Secretary, Shahzad Bangash administered polio drops to the children while the vaccinator administered fIPV to the eligible children to kick start the August round of campaign in the province.