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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reported a total of 35 Wild Polio Virus (WPV) cases during first two months of the ongoing year with 18 cases reported in January and 17 in February, which dropped down to seven in March, six in April and one in May and no case has been reported since then, the federal government informed the Senate on Friday.

The number of WPV in the country, so far, becomes 49. In a written reply to a question posed by Mushtaq Ahmed from Jamat-e-Islami (JI) during Senate Question Hour regarding the number of polio cases reported in the Pakistan during the first two months of the ongoing year 2020 and the steps being taken by the government to control the increasing number of polio cases in the country, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination said the Government of Pakistan is committed to ensure a polio-free future for the coming generations, and has taken all necessary measures and steps to control current situation of Poliovirus in the country.

"A comprehensive action plan National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) for the year 2020 has been devised based on thorough analysis of the 2019 crisis and keeping in view the specific / special requirements to address remaining challenges in each province / area across country. The plan hence includes all ingredients, strategies and interventions required to interrupt Poliovirus transmission in the country.

The reinvigorated efforts under the NEAP 2020 are focused on taking the initiative forward as a shared priority across the political divide and promoting sense of collective responsibility, regaining 'One Team' approach, strengthening delivery of Essential Immunization Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI-EPI Integration), delivering integrated package of polio plus services in Super High Risk union councils, contextualizing programme's communication approaches according to specific needs of communities, and optimizing quality of door to door Polio vaccination campaigns through transformations in structure, processes, data and human resource," the reply said.

It added, to simultaneously interrupt virus transmission in 30 shared corridors, stronger coordination with Afghanistan is also being ensured. "The reinvigorated highest level political commitment across parties and other segments of society and the revitalized efforts by all stakeholders led to the successful nationwide door to door polio vaccination campaigns in December 2019 and February 2020 and special response rounds during January and March 2020. A total of around 40 million children were vaccinated across the country in each of the nationwide rounds and 26 million children in the response campaigns. Community at large was quite receptive and resultantly a significant reduction of missed children was witnessed at the end of these campaigns," the ministry said in its reply.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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