ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (rtd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso took notice of the reports in the media regarding closure of the Polio Cell in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, Sunday, June 2.
Reiterating his commitment to eradication of Polio in the country, the Prime Minister reviewed his decision after a presentation about the implications of such a move by Federal Minister Dr Sania Nishtar on national polio eradication efforts.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) had also recommended the restoration of Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell to help eradicate the crippling disease from the country and warned that “next six months are absolutely vital” on June 1.
Established by the Pakistan People’s Party government in 2011, the cell was dismantled by the caretaker government in the last week of May.
It said there had been 26 polio cases at the time of board meeting in the first week of May in endemic countries Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Pakistan had 198 cases of polio in 2011 and the number came down to 58 in 2012 and nine till May 2013.
The board praised Pakistan for making progress on polio eradication and said Afghanistan was close to polio eradication. With 37 cases in 2012 and two in 2013 so far, a polio-free future should be within close reach, but it does not seem to be. The board listed concerns about the spread of the poliovirus in certain areas of Pakistan like Karachi, Peshawar and Waziristan.
The caretaker Prime Minister directed relevant authorities that necessary administrative directions be issued for immediate restoration of the Polio Cell in PM Secretariat to its status before his caretaker government took office.