No new polio related travel restriction imposed on Pakistan, says Dr Zafar

08:42 AM | 11 Jan, 2020
No new polio related travel restriction imposed on Pakistan, says Dr Zafar

ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Dr Zafar Mirza has denied impression created by a section of the press while reporting of new polio cases that any new polio related travel restrictions had been imposed on Pakistan.               

In a statement, he said World Health Organization Emergency Committee recommendations were first made in May 2014, and had since then been periodically reviewed and extended for all the countries infected by poliovirus.

"Pakistan implemented the same immediately as a responsible member of the international community and has been doing so since then," he said in a statement.

Dr Zafar Mirza fully refuted the reports of any additional recommendations imposed by the WHO committee for incoming international visitors travelling to Pakistan.           

Dr Zafar Mirza said, "Over 500,000 international travellers from Pakistan receive polio vaccine every month prior to departure and the certificate issued in this respect is valid for 12 months. Around 180,000 travellers of all ages are additionally vaccinated every month at Pak-Afghan border crossings."

Pakistan's Polio Eradication Programme, he said, faced special challenges in 2019 which led to a resurgence of new cases during the year.

"The programme, however, conducted a critical analysis of the situation and devised a comprehensive strategy to overcome challenges in a sustainable manner.

"Our fightback has already started through the successful December NID that was inaugurated by the Prime Minister in the Federal capital and all the chief ministers in respective provinces. A total of 40 million less than 5 year age children were successfully reached and vaccinated to protect them against the crippling virus.

He said the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, was fully cognizant of the existing challenges and the urgency to overcome them.