PESHAWAR - Fredrik Were, a member of the International Monitoring Board, a world body that monitors polio situation in various countries, said that the tribal districts polio programme had made unprecedented progress despite many odds which, he added, needed to be maintained till eradication is certified.

Coordination with Afghanistan, vaccination of children and surveillance efforts were at it’s the best but this tempo must be sustained, he said on Saturday in a meeting held at Emergency Operations Centre for tribal districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Coordinator EOC Tribal Districts Mahmood Aslam during the meeting updated him on progress made so far and the milestone achieved in the past couple of years.

He informed the meeting that coordination within the country and across the border had been increased to synchronise the efforts for stopping virus from circulating in the region. He said, “We have become very close to eradication of polio in the region and realise the fact that sustaining this success demands more efforts”.

Earlier, the International Monitoring Board members, Fredrik Were and Francis James Mahoney visited Khyber Agency to monitor vaccination at Civil Dispensary Sultan Khail and Torkhum areas of Landi Kotal and also witnessed a meeting of Pak and Afghan polio teams at Torkhum. They interviewed parents, spoke with community and asked questions from field teams on the spot.

The delegation also met Additional Chief Secretary Sikandar Qayum and Deputy Commissioner Khyber Islam Zaib to discuss challenges in polio eradication, probable solutions and way forward.

 The meeting was also attended by Technical Focal Person Dr Nadeem Jan, Team Lead WHO-Tribal Districts Dr Hamid Momand, Team Lead UNICEF-Tribal Districts Dr Tufail Ahmad and other relevant officials.