Islamabad  - The Ministry of National Health Services on Thursday decided to prepare PC-1 for polio elimination programme for the next three years keeping in view current situation of the disease in the country.

The decision was taken in a meeting aimed at reviewing polio situation in the country. The meeting was chaired by Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar and also attended by Director General Health Dr Assad Hafeez, National Coordinator for Polio Dr Rana Safdar, representative of Pakistan Army and international partner agencies.

The minister directed for early finalisation of the PC-1 for polio elimination programme 2019-21. The minister stressed importance of sustainability of resources to ensure that the programme continues to operate after stopping transmission of poliovirus as per standard practice.

The minister was briefed about the 8 polio cases reported in 2017. She directed engaging leadership of Balochistan to meet specific challenges to the campaign. The minister expressed satisfaction over ‘improved’ polio situation in parts of the country including the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and also directed for further strengthening cross-border collaboration with Afghanistan.

Tarar also directed for redoubling efforts to meet remaining challenges and rid the country of the disease. She said that the country had reported the lowest ever cases in history of anti-polio effort.

Representative of Pakistan Army briefed in detail on the support being provided by the armed forces in ensuring accessibility and security of polio teams.

Despite of the progress achieved so far in reducing the number of children paralysed by polio, the virus continued to be detected in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

However, the number of cases declined from 306 in 2014 to 53 in 2015 and to 20 in 2016, while in 2017, the number of reported polio cases was six as compared to 19 reported till December 7, 2016.