World Health Organization (WHO) convened the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for January 28 & 29 2015 in Islamabad. The objectives of the meeting are as under;
- Assess progress made since the last meeting
- Identify and develop consensus on remaining gaps and challenges
- Advise on measures the program can take to keep the country on track to interrupt transmission by May 2016
Ref to the above, TAG discussed polio eradication strategy in the light of the current situation in Super High risk areas of FATA, Khyberpakhtunkhawa (Peshawar corridor), Karachi and Quetta Block and review functions of Polio Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) in all provinces and channel resources for vaccine and operational activities.
National Chair Aziz Memon and four Zonal Coordinators; CDG Rauf Rohaila, PDG Saeed shamsi, PP Masood Bhalli ,PP Dr Hanif Khilji and Asher Ali Project Manager attended the meeting representing Rotary.
The meeting was chaired by Dr. Jean Marc Olive. Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister Focal Person on Polio facilitated the meeting. The Chair opened the session with his appreciation for joint working of PEOCs/ NEOC and moving towards right direction. He said improved coordination increased the strength of the polio eradication initiatives.
Senetor Ayesha Raza Farooq facilitated the meeting sessions and expressed confident about major progress being achieved in 2016. She elaborated the efforts being made by the Government and said polio eradication is “top of the agenda.” She briefed on the current situation and progress towards “Zero Polio”. (details attached as annexure 1)
Secretary Health Muhammad Ayub Sheikh hoped that the findings from the two-day meeting would help with the “final push” to interrupt polio virus transmission. He expressed the belief that Pakistan will defeat the virus this year.
Adien Oleary Polio Chief, UNICEF said in his opening remarks that during 2015 focus was given to shift paradigm from quantity to quality. He stressed to strengthen Front Line Workers (FLW) and consistent development of PEOCs. The joint efforts at all levels and monitoring system gave encouraging results in 2015.
After the tea break, representatives of FATA, Khyberpakhtunkhawa, Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab updated provincial status of polio in their respective provinces.
During the interactive session questions were asked to PEOCs and were answered. PP Masood Bhalli expressed his concern on the coverage of missed children after catch-up days. The chair seconded his opinion and said more focus should be given to cover missed children after each NID. The difference should be visible in subsequent NIDs.
The session ended with a vote of thanks by Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq.
An internal meeting was held on the second day of TAG in the first half of the morning. The TAG prepared their conclusion and recommendations in the light of the progress made by the provinces.
Federal Minister Health Saira Afzal Tarar chaired the second day meeting. Dr. Azra Pechehu Chairperson Oversight Committee Sindh also attended the session.
PP Masood Bhalli gave briefed about Rotary support for global and specifically Pakistan polio eradication initiative. (detail attached as an annexure 2)
The final conclusions and recommendation of the TAG were shared with the participants as follows; (detail attached as annexure 3)
- TAG commends country for the overall improved quality of SIAs across all provinces and districts, and the full shift towards finding and vaccinating missed children
- Significant progress made by the program since the last meeting especially on leadership, management, oversight and accountability across all levels
- TAG commends commitment and determination of the security forces in ensuring campaigns are conducted in a safe and secure environment
- TAG commends the front-line workers for their dedication and commitment
- Maintain and further improve political commitment at all levels
- Continue to implement accountability framework with associated measurement for sustained performance improvement
- Fully implement the supplementary action plan developed during the quarterly NEAP review in November 2015
- Engage local government in the monitoring and supervision of UC level staff (AICs, UCMOs, etc)
At the end of the day Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq thanked all TAG members, polio partners and EOCs for their active participation in the meeting.
The Chair Dr. Jean Marc Olive concluded the meeting with;
Wir schaffen das!
(We can do this!)
Pakistan National Polio Plus Committee