GENEVA, 22 MAY (DNA) – Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar has said that the Government of Pakistan is carrying out aggressively the surveillance for polio and has established 53 environmental sampling sites which is the largest surveillance network in the world.
Addressing the meeting of World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region at World Health Assembly in Geneva, she said, “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is leading the effort and there is the strongest of political commitment to the cause.” She said, “Unprecedented progress has been made in stopping transmission of polio virus with lowest ever case count of 20 in 2016 and 2 so far this year.”
“These are our children and we will leave no stone unturned to protect them from this crippling disease,” said the minister while expressing her resolve. She also spoke at length on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and progress made by Pakistan in developing the 5 year coasted National Action Plan (NAP) as part of Global Health Security Agenda and International Health Regulations. Pakistan’s track record of dealing effectively with manmade and natural disasters was also shared by the Minister.
Meanwhile, Pakistan was presented as a model to countries attending the World Health Assembly as the first nation to conduct Joint External Evaluation of Core Capacities to respond to disease outbreaks and level of preparedness to deal with pandemics.
The recognition came at a special session on International Health Regulations at the World Health Assembly. The session participated by delegates of 59 countries was chaired by Finland and Australia. Pakistan’s Joint External Evaluation exercise was presented as a model for other nations to follow.
Pakistan had initiated the exercise in early 2016 across the country with a team of international public health experts and completed it late last year. Eight different core capacities were evaluated in the year long process. Pakistan’ Director General Health Dr. Assad Hafeez made a presentation elaborating the process. Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said, “Transparency has been the hallmark of health reforms in the country which has been recognised at this prestigious global forum.”
She said, “Pakistan was ready to share its experiences with any country desirous of strengthening their core capacities as part of the Global Health Security Agenda.”