ISLAMABAD - In the light of the report of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) meeting released Monday, Polio emergency control room in the Prime Minister's office functioning in the Prime Minister's Polio Monitoring Cell is being strengthened to fast track the existing data collection, monitoring of the Polio campaign operations with immediate response and coordination system.

The IMB provides an independent assessment of the progress being made in the detection and interruption of polio transmissions globally. The IMB meets twice a year, and consists of nine members who convene in their personal capacity as international experts. The IMB report highlighted that the ongoing inability to reach all children in North and South Waziristan and declining immunisation coverage in Balochistan, as the main ongoing threats to stopping polio transmission in the country.

The report highlights persistent risk of international spread of polio from Pakistan citing polio outbreaks linked to poliovirus from Pakistan in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

The IMB in its report acknowledged Pakistan's timely response to natural disasters and urged the country to approach the polio eradication efforts in the same manner through strengthening of the Polio Operations and Control Room patterned on the format of an Emergency Operations Center. The IMB also appreciated Pakistan's immediate actions on the travel advisory recommendations under the International Health Regulations (IHR) to vaccinate all travelers leaving the country.

The WHO travel restrictions for Pakistanis have come into force from June 1 and Pakistan has arranged counters on international airports for the travelers to obtain the polio vaccination certificates.

In addition, IMB also valued Pakistan's intensified efforts to vaccinate all persons entering and leaving the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and the Board appreciated the recent innovative and intensive polio immunisation campaigns in Peshawar, Karachi and Rawalpindi.

"We are committed to avail all options and out of the box approaches to protect our vulnerable children from paralysis or death, but also to prevent the spread of polio virus from high-risk areas to other parts of Pakistan and the world," said Ayesha Raza Farooq, PM Focal Person on Polio, in a statement released by the PM's Polio Monitoring Cell.