PM optimistic for a polio-free Pakistan very soon

May 3, 2024

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday expressed the hope that the government, in collaboration with the global partners and national institutions, would be able to eliminate polio from the country very soon.

The prime minister, in a meeting with a delegation of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) led by Dr Christopher Elias, Chair of Polio Oversight Board and President of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Division, said the government was fully resolved to purge the country of this fatal disease.

The prime minister directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to launch a joint awareness drive, in collaboration with the GPEI.

He told the delegation that the government would carry out the accountability of the institutions involved in the polio eradication to ensure transparency in the process.

He also assured to provide full security cover to the vaccination teams.

Prime Minister Shehbaz lauded the $500 million donation by Saudi Arabia during the World Economic Forum for polio eradication.

He said the Pakistan-Afghanistan cooperation was a must to eradicate polio from the region.

The members of the delegation apprised the prime minister of the ongoing measures for polio eradication and appreciated the government’s resolve to get rid of the disease.

The delegation also highlighted the problems faced during the immunisation.

The delegation members observed that the government was resolved to ensure success of polio eradication drive by providing necessary technical expertise.

Dr Christopher told the prime minister that Bill Gates was extremely pleased over the anti-polio initiatives taken during his both stints as Punjab chief minister.

The meeting was attended by Regional Director of EMRO Dr Hanan Balkhi, Sanjay Wijesekera
, Unicef Regional Director of South Asia, Dr Omotayo Bolu, Polio Branch Chief of Centres for Disease Control, Dr Luo Dapeng, WHO Representative in Pakistan, Abdullah A. Fadil
, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan,
Dr Hamid Jafari, Director Polio Eradication, EMRO and Michael Galway, Deputy Director Polio Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Information Minister Attaullah Tarar, State Minister Shaza Fatima Khawaja, PM’s Coordinator on Health Mukhtar Malik and relevant senior officers were also present.