Canada hails progress made in polio eradication

islamabad – Canada while recognising the efforts of female polio health workers of Pakistan aims to support the female workforce under Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, said Director General of Global Affairs Canada David Hartman on Wednesday.

He said this during a meeting with Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication, Senator Ayesha Raza. The Canadian delegation was comprised of Head of Development Cooperation Joseph Sebhatu, First Secretary Development at National Emergency operation Centre Daniel Joly.

David Hartman said that Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy recognizes that gender equality and empowerment of women  is the imperative to build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. He said that since Pakistan’s polio eradication program has 58% female workforce with thousands of woman front-line workers, FIAP aims to support them to close gender gaps.

FIAP also works across other action areas that reflect the multidimensional nature of poverty, in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Working in this way leads to better development results and benefits everyone, including men and boys”, he said. 

David Hartman hailed the progress made by Pakistan Polio Program by saying that “Canada remains a proud donor to GPEI and will continue to do so until “the job is done”.

Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq expressed gratitude to Canada for its commitment in supporting polio eradication in Pakistan as well as its continued championship of the program vis-à-vis other donors.

The Senator appraised the delegation that Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for polio eradication in Pakistan commended the program’s progress in its meeting held last week.

She said that the number of cases has declined from 306 in 2014 to 53 in 2015 and 20 in 2016. So far this year, the number of polio cases reported in Pakistan are six; 2 from Karachi (Sindh) and one each from Lodhran (Punjab), Diamer (GB), Killa Abdullah (Balochistan) and Lakki Marwat (KP) compared to 19 reported by 6th December in 2016 (indicating a 68% decline). All these cases have been contained through aggressive outbreak response.

In a separate event, Federal Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said that Pakistan is achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. Pakistan adopted SDGs in February 2016 through a parliamentary resolution that was passed unanimously.

She said this while addressing 8th Annual Public Health Conference.

“There has been an increase in coverage of children vaccinated under Expanded Program on Immunization by 15-20 percent while Vaccine Logistics Management Information System VLMIS has been introduced,”

Minister said that Pakistan’s Joint External Evaluation of International Health Regulations and Global Health Security Agenda have won appreciation from global health community and are being seen as a model for others to follow.

Prime Minister’s National Health Program is a social protection initiative in Pakistan providing financial protection to families against Out of Pocket Expenditure especially catastrophic health expenditures, she said.

A program for the provision of free of cost health insurance to 3.1 million families in 40 districts living below poverty line of US $ 2 per day to access cashless health care services package of 0.3 million rupees per family per year available in both public and private sector through a health card issued by a highly transparent mechanism, added minister.

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