A Provincial Task Force Meeting on Polio Eradication was held today ie; August 17, 2016 at Sindh Secretariat, Karachi. The objective of the meeting was to discuss Implementation status of June Provincial Task Force (PTF) meeting action points and SIAs performance in Karachi and North Sindh areas. The meeting was chaired by Siddiq Memon, Chief Secretary Sindh.
The meeting was attended by Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Ayub Shaikh, Secretary Health Government of Pakistan, Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, Chairperson, Oversight Committee Sindh, Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Coordinator Oversight Committee Sindh, Secretary Health A.B Narejo, Commissioners of Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Mirpurkhas and all Deputy Commissioners of Karachi. The meeting was also represented by polio partners Dr. Abidi TL, WHO, Dr Temesgen TL Sindh WHO, Dr. Thomas Grien WHO, Dr. Altaf Bosan, Technical Consultant BMGF, Jalpa Ratna Deputy Chief polio UNICEF, National Chair PNPPC Aziz Memon, and Asher Ali, Project Manager Rotary International.
Chief Secretary Sindh Siddiq Memon opened the session and welcomed the guests. He informed that polio eradication is on top of government agenda. He assured his all administrative support to polio program. He stressed to improve conditions in North Sindh.
Dr. Azra briefly gave the current scenario of polio cases in Sindh. She said there is a need to strengthen routine immunization to complete the vaccination process and get rid of this crippling disease. She also pointed out the distribution of vaccine carriers and maintaining of proper inventories. She said it has been reported that polio workers kept these vaccine carriers and do not return back to Area Incharges.
She thanked Rotary for its support in polio eradication activities especially in timely provision of vaccine carriers for all over Pakistan and specifically for Sindh as per requirement. She requested commissioners to ensure proper utilization and record keeping of vaccine carriers at district and union council level.
Fayyaz Jatoi EOC Coordinator Sindh gave detail of last month Provincial Task Force Action points;
1) EOC Coordinator appointed
2) Posting of DHOs Karachi is in process
3) DHOs Shikarpur Sukkur Kamber and THOs Bin Qasim, Liaqatabad replaced on ground of their poor performance.
4) Divisional Task Forces at Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Benazirabad have been notified
He said environmental samples are negative in Karachi since last three months.
Ayub Shaikh, Secretary Health said routine immunization is key to improve the situation. He briefly presented “Polio Eradication End Game Strategy 2013-18”. He said the role of EOCs is instrumental and lot of achievements has been made as per NEAP. He focused on Synergy to Legacy. He highlighted results of AFP in Balochistan where 48% AFP cases were reported as no zero dosage. Similarly in Kasmore Northern Sindh where 52% cases have been reported as no zero dosage. This indicates our weak routine immunization and he requested Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners to ensure routine immunization along with OPV in these areas.
At the end Commissioners ensured that they will focus on improving situation by strengthening routine immunization.
The Chair ensured full commitment of the Government and thanked all officials and polio partners for making their efforts.
Aziz Memon, National Chair thanked Dr. Azra to raise the concern regarding proper management of Vaccine carriers. He said Rotary will continue its support to eradicate polio from the country. He added, that ILRs are also providing to EPI Sindh to strengthen cold chain and cover maximum children.
Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said in her concluding remarks that a lot of improvement has been made but still we have to go long and ensure negative environmental samples from each location. She appreciated the efforts of the Chief Secretary to establish task forces for Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana.
The Chair, Siddiq Memon Chief Secretary Sindh concluded the meeting with his commitment to
provide all administrative and financial support needed to kick off polio from Sindh. He said the approvals regarding appointment of UCMOs and LHWs administrative issues will be resolved on priority basis shortly. He thanked all participants and appreciated their support to eradicate polio from the province.
By Asher Ali