Afghanistan key source of polio disease in Pakistan: Imran

Updated 06 Feb 2020

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Prime Minister Imran Khan met a delegation of the Rotary International organisation which is also working for polio eradication.  — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan
Prime Minister Imran Khan met a delegation of the Rotary International organisation which is also working for polio eradication. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that poliovirus is spreading in the country from Afghanistan and that special arrangements are being made to monitor cross-border movement of people from the neighbouring country.

“Special arrangements are being made to monitor cross-border movement of people from Afghanistan and that will help prevent spread of poliovirus,” the prime minister was quoted as saying at a meeting with a delegation of Rotary International on Wednesday.

According to the Prime Minister Office (PMO), Mr Khan said that Pakistan’s biggest priority was to eradicate polio from the country as the government was taking all steps in its fight against the ailment.

Media reports said that Pakistan was one of the three remaining countries in the world where poliomyelitis (polio) was still categorised as an endemic viral infection. The others being Afghanistan and Nigeria.

The prime minister met a delegation of the Rotary International organisation which was also working for polio eradication.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza also attended the meeting.

The RI delegation also met Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday and the army chief lauded its role in the fight against polio.

During the meeting with the prime minister, Dr Zafar briefed the RI team about measures taken by the government to root out polio from the country and said that four million children under the age of five had been administered polio drops.

Dr Mirza said that in the ongoing drive, more than 100,000 security personnel and 250,000 polio workers had performed their duties.

Mr Khan said that the government would put to use all possible resources to get rid of the disease and measures were being taken to check cross-border (Pakistan and Afghanistan) movement of people.

He said the government valued every organisation working for eradication of polio from the country including RI.

During his meeting with RI delegation, Gen Bajwa discussed measures related to healthcare in Pakistan and the country’s battle against poliovirus and praised the contribution of the organisation in the eradication of polio from Pakistan.

He expressed the hope that collective efforts would lead to completely rooting out the disease from the country.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2020