Statement for High Level Segment Polio Partners Group Meeting, Friday, 24 June 2016 – 0900-1300 hours Salle C, WHO
Thank You Chair,
Madam DG we are happy to see you here.
We also congratulate the co-chair on his election.
Pakistan remains committed to polio eradication under the personal supervision of the Prime Minister. Progress in 2016 has been significant with both the number of cases and positive environmental samples declining.
Establishment of emergency operation centers at federal and provincial levels utilizing a ‘one team one roof’ approach has improved coordination among stakeholders and enhanced efficiency at all levels. National, provincial and district task forces have been formed to ensure highest accountability right to the district and tehsil level. The PM Focus Group regularly reviews and outlines clear action guidelines for the provinces. A Cabinet Committee has been especially constituted to meet the particular security challenges of various areas. New initiatives including continuous community protected vaccination, health camps, tactical use of IPV in target areas, and independent quality monitoring of the program have been effectively employed in 2016. Successful military operation Zarb-e -Azab has overcome one of the main challenges by restoring access in Waziristan and Khyber Agency. Paradigm shift of the program to ‘chronically missed children’ has borne results proven by objective data.
Five campaigns have been conducted in 2016 with a reported coverage of 100%. LQAS has surpassed the target of 80% set in the plan reaching 85%. Similarly, coverage of the campaign has consistently been maintained at 95% surpassing the national target of 90%. More then 95% of the hitherto missed children have now been covered while refusals are at an all time low of 0.05%. 3 million strategically targeted children were administered IPV through special campaigns in high risk areas to expedite immunity.
Focused steps have been taken to target core reservoirs of Karachi, Quetta and Greater Peshawar through establishment of dedicated task forces to meet specific challenges. Subsequently, clear action plans have been devised to execute corrective action in delineated areas.
All these efforts are consistently augmented by socio-religious advocacy. Religious support persons are regularly trained and deployed in areas where refusal is still a problem. A rapid response unit has been established nationally to support provincial and district teams to track, investigate and respond to ‘trigger events’ reflecting epidemiological or programmatic risk. Similarly, an online dashboard for real time monitoring and analysis of polio data is fully functional.
Coordination with Afghanistan is ongoing at all levels to ensure synced immunizations at the village/cluster level for maximal coverage through monthly meetings of the provincial and national teams, 3 monthly video teleconference and face to face meetings ever 6 months. The bordering districts meet before/ after every campaign. IHR recommendations are being strictly implemented with about 500,000 travelers being vaccinated monthly.
The national polio management team met on 6 June 2016 with the provincial teams for extensive consultations for a way forward. The final draft plan after careful evaluation of progress and analysis of gaps so far shall now be presented to a Technical Consultation Panel on 28-29 June 2016 for finalization.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Our main challenges include vaccinator and target fatigue, burden on national resources not only on the health sector but also the law enforcers who are deployed to provide additional security and ensuring consistent supply of vaccine.
However, Pakistan remains committed and united in its resolve to reach every last child and count on international support to bolster our national efforts.