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Pak-Afghan join forces to eradicate polio from globe

ISLAMABAD, 07 JAN  (DNA) –  An international video conference held between National Polio teams of Pakistan and Afghanistan on 6thJan, 2016 to discuss the importance of strengthening cross border coordination at national & regional levels for polio eradication.

The meeting was chaired By Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication from Pakistan and Dr Hedayatullah Stanikzai, National Polio Focal Point and Senior Adviser to the Minister Health Afghanistan.

Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq appreciated the efforts made on cross border level that have benefited the polio eradication program. She stressed on the micro –synchronization of polio campaigns at the border.

“I would like to emphasize that this is an opportune time to bolster coordination and plug gaps during the low transmission season, which is critically important in suppressing the virus.” Dr Hedayatullah Stanikzai appreciated efforts being made across border for preventing polio virus transmission.

“Major polio cases in both countries are near the borderline where there are core challenges. With such strong and committed coordination I am very optimistic and confident that we will defeat polio.”

Senator Ayesha Raza talked about the progress on coordination where there have been several electronic and in-person meetings between the teams of FATA, KP and the eastern region of Afghanistan and between Balochistan and Southern Afghanistan Region.

Presentations from both sides of the border reviewed the progress on recommendations from the last cross border meeting which was held in June 2015 and also focused on the current situation on the bordering areas. Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, Coordinator National Emergency Operation Centre presented from Pakistan while Dr Maiwand Ahmadzai, Director National Emergency Operation Centre Afghanistan represented the other side.

Both sides emphasised the need to monitor nomadic movement across the borders and on strengthening of transit vaccination. A decision was made on holdingsynchronized polio campaigns for the next five months.

It was decided that national representatives of both the countries will meet on quarterly basis through video conference and biannual meetings in-person. The meeting gave a new motivation to the constant cross border efforts for the global polio eradication initiative. DNA


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