Pakistan has made unprecedented progress in stopping poliovirus transmission in the country with the lowest-ever case count of two so far this year, Minister of State for Health Saira Afzal Tarar told Health Ministers of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region in Geneva on Sunday.
“We are aggressively carrying out polio surveillance through 53 environmental sampling sites, which comprise the largest surveillance network in the world. We will leave no stone unturned to protect our children from this crippling disease,” Saira stated.
She also spoke about the development of a five-year National Action Plan as part of the Global Health Security Agenda and International Health Regulations (IHR).
Meanwhile, at a special session on IHR, Pakistan was presented as the first model country to have conducted Joint External Evaluation of Core Capacities to respond to disease outbreaks and level of preparedness to deal with pandemics. The session was attended by delegates of 59 countries.
Pakistan had initiated the exercise in early 2016 with a team of international public health experts, completing it late last year. Eight different core capacities were evaluated in the yearlong process. Pakistan’s Director General Health Dr. Assad Hafeez made a presentation elaborating the process. Pakistan expressed its readiness to share its experiences with any country desirous of strengthening their core capacities as part of the Global Health Security Agenda.