‘US withdrawal may result in greater polio challenge’

Published June 10, 2021
During the meeting co-chaired by Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho and Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, the delegation was briefed about the government’s anti-polio efforts. — AFP/File
During the meeting co-chaired by Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho and Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, the delegation was briefed about the government’s anti-polio efforts. — AFP/File

KARACHI: The provincial health minister at a meeting held on Wednesday with a foreign delegation shared concern over the regional situation that might force migrants from across the border into Pakistan and create a great challenge for local authorities fighting against polio.

The delegation was led by Dr Chris Elias representing the Polio Oversight Board of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and included local and international partners, including WHO and Rotary International.

During the meeting co-chaired by Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho and Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, the delegation was briefed about the government’s anti-polio efforts, particularly the ongoing drive, and that there had been no new case of polio in the region for the past 11 months.

The minister also talked about the emerging regional situation and said the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan might force a large number of migrants into Pakistan. “This will be a great challenge for Pakistan fighting against polio,” she said.

Mr Shah expressed his gratitude to global partners, including WHO, Rotary International and the Gates Foundation, for extending technical and financial support to the country.

In his remarks, Dr Elias lauded the Sindh government for achieving a significant milestone in the polio eradication campaign.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2021

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