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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday launched a new anti-polio campaign by vaccinating children and stated that reporting of three recent cases of polio is alarming in the country.

Ahead of launching the anti-polio drive, the prime minister chaired a meeting of the National Task Force for Polio Eradication, which was attended by federal ministers, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Abdul Qadir Patel, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Tanveer Ilyas, Balochistan Health Minister Ehsan Shah, provincial chief secretaries and representatives of international organizations.

Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz, Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister of Health also participated through video link.

The Prime Minister Office said that after the reporting of three recent polio cases in the country, the prime minister has sought a detailed briefing on anti-polio strategy.

He was informed that in April and May this year, three polio cases were reported from North Waziristan, while no polio case was reported during February 2021 to March 2022 (14 months).

In addition, the meeting was told that 25 districts in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are at high risk of contracting the poliovirus.

The premier termed the recent reporting of polio cases as alarming in the country and stated that collaboration with international partners will continue to make polio eradication possible.

He said that all the stakeholders including federal agencies, provincial governments and international organizations worked hard and performed invaluable services for the eradication of polio from the country but the challenge of polio still exists and there is a need to work together to get rid of it.

The prime minister assured that all possible help and cooperation from the federal government. The Government of Pakistan is grateful to international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others for their technical and financial support for the anti-polio campaign, added the PM.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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