ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Darshan on Monday said Pakistan would be a polio-free country by the year 2018 due to untiring efforts of the present government.
Replaying to a question in the National Assembly, he said though Pakistan had made significant progress towards the interruption of polio virus during last 18 months yet it had not been declared a polio-free country.
As per World Health Organization’s (WHO) criteria, he said the interruption of WPV circulation for a period of one year removed the country from the list of endemic countries and maintaining the status for three years made it eligible to apply for polio-free certification
Dr Darshan said due to the highest political commitment across parties, enhanced accessibility and strong coordination through Emergency Operation Centres, Pakistan had witnessed a tremendous turnaround in polio situation in 2015 and 2016 duly appreciated by international bodies such as the Polio Oversight Board, Independent Monitoring Board, Technical Advisory Group and the World Health Assembly.
He said 306 polio cases reported in 2014, 54 in 2015 and only 13 this year, including seven from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, four from Sindh, one from Balochistan and one from FATA.
He said shrinking circulation and reduction of the circulating viral clusters of WPV1 from 16 in 2014 to only four in 2016 was also an indication of the programme’s progress in right direction.