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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that he is committed to eradicating polio from Sindh but this is a national issue and all provincial governments have to combat it in their respective areas otherwise this threat will always be looming.

This he said while presiding over a meeting on Provincial Task Force Meeting for Polio Eradication here at the CM House, said a statement issued on Thursday.

Sindh Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Aseefa Bhutto Zaradri, MNA Azra Pechuho, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar, IG Police AD Khowaja, representatives of federal government, Uicef, WHO, provincial secretaries and others attended the meeting.

The chief minister said that he was giving extra-ordinary attention to anti-polio drives by making security arrangements of the teams and keep them in touch.

He said that he was quite satisfied when he received the report that during the present five months of 2017 no polio case was reported anywhere in Sindh.

Briefing the meeting, Coordinator Emergency Operation Center for Polio Fayaz Jatio said that during the first five months of 2017 only two polio cases were reported in the country one in Gilgit-Baltistan and other one in Punjab.

Adding that during 2014, some 30 polio cases had emerged in Sindh. The figure dropped down to 12 in 2015 and it went further down to 8 in 2016 and it is zero this year, he said.

On this Aseefa Bhutto urged the polio team to maintain zero figure and work hard to eradicate its virus also.

Jatoi said that Karachi was vulnerable and samples collected from different areas such as Machhar Colony, Sohrab Goth, Gadap etc had polio virus. But now Karachi is negative while there are some indication of the virus in the areas of lower Sindh and Northern Sindh. He added that necessary measures have been taken to control the situation.

He told the meeting that in Karachi the polio coverage is around 90 percent but still 80,000 children are left because of two reasons such as refusal or absence in their houses.

On this the chief minister directed them to convince the parents who refuse to administer polio drops to their children and try to reach out their homes who are not present there at the time of drive or rounds.

The chief minister directed to transfer management control of EPI to PPHI in districts, Tharpakar, Badin, Sujawal, Kashmore, Kambar, Sanghar and Sukkur.

He also issued directives for creation of District Surveillance Coordinator (DSCs)/Field Surveillance medical officers.

National Coordinator of Pakistan's Progress Towards Zero Polio said that the environmental surveillance results of last 52 weeks show persistence of polio virus in Karachi and Quetta.

It was unanimously decided that further close coordination may be developed for receiving sustainable positive results by making polio zero in Sindh.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2017

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