ISLAMABAD: With the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) on Polio set to review the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s performance regarding eradication of the disease, President Dr Arif Alvi will receive a briefing on the matter on Sept 24.
During the briefing, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Babar bin Atta will share the presentation to be placed before the IMB meeting expected to be held in London from Oct 1 to 3.
The IMB works on behalf of international donor agencies and issues reports regarding performance of the countries. In November 2012, it recommended that travel restrictions be imposed on Pakistan and finally those recommendations were implemented on May 5, 2014, due to which it is mandatory for Pakistanis to have polio drops before travelling abroad.
According to a document of the President’s Secretariat, a presentation on polio eradication has been scheduled for Sept 24 at Aiwan-i-Sadr.
The polio programme has been directed to provide hard and soft copies, of the presentation, talking points, briefing and list of participants, to the secretariat by Sept 17.
An official of the programme said on condition of anonymity that the meeting which will be presided over by chairman of the Independent Monitoring Board Sir Liam Donaldson is critical as it is the first time that the IMB is going to review the performance of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government. “President Alvi, who is a doctor by profession, has called the meeting as he wants to see what kind of arrangements we have made and what we are going to share with the IMB,” the official said.
“In the presentation, which is prepared for the IMB, we have included that Prime Minister Imran Khan on August 21 held a stocktaking meeting to review the situation of polio and while approving polio eradication plan till April 2020. The premier also announced that he would lead the polio programme from November this year. Moreover, it was decided that at least BPS-20 bureaucrats would be appointed as provincial polio officers to remove different barriers during polio campaigns in provinces,” he said.
“We have also included that on August 30 the apex evaluation body of the WHO Technical Advisory Group had raised concerns over the deteriorating situation of poliovirus transmission in KP and within 48 hours we changed the whole team of polio programme in the province,” he said.
When contacted, Mr Atta claimed that it would be the first time when 100 per cent compliance will be shown to the IMB.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2019