QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has assured the centre of his government’s full cooperation in eradicating the poliovirus from the province.
“The government will fulfil its commitment to making Balochistan a polio-free province,” said Dr Baloch while speaking at a meeting on Thursday. “We will ensure security, regular meetings of the task force and launch anti-polio drives on time.”
Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar, the focal person on polio eradication initiatives, Ayesha Raza Farooq, provincial Health Minister Rehmat Saleh Baloch, Chief Secretary Saifullah Chattah and Unicef country head along with officers from WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the National Stop Transmission of Polio attended the meeting.
The meeting was informed that Pakistan had 12 high-risk districts out of which three were in Balochistan – Quetta, Pishin and Qila Abdullah. More than 75 per cent of the cases are from the Quetta block.
The chief minister said he would hold the provincial health minister accountable if Balochistan did not become a polio free province. He added that the provincial government’s prime focus was on the health and education sectors.
Ms Tarar informed the chief minister that there were a few security issues which had created hurdles in carrying out polio eradication campaigns in the province. She added that they needed more commitment from the provincial government.
Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2015