Islamabad - In a high-level donors’ meeting on polio eradication, the ministry of health sensitised the donors about the achievement of anti-polio programme and appealed to contribute generously for the required amount of $312 million for the next three years.

The Donor Coordination Meeting for Resource Generation for Polio Eradication in Pakistan was attended by the representatives from all international partner agencies and a number of embassies, besides representatives from economic affairs division, ministry of foreign affairs and planning division.

Due to budgetary constraints, the government requested the donors to contribute for the uninterrupted flow of resources for the next three years critical to sustaining polio gains.

Secretary Ministry of National Health Services Muhammad Ayub Sheikh gave a detailed appraisal of the funding position and the financial requirements for 2016 to 2018 for which international partners’ support was being sought.

He informed that Polio Emergency PC-1 is being placed before the National Economic Council during the month of November.

Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said, “Substantial gains have been made in stopping poliovirus transmission this year and we have to make every effort to sustain these gains in polio eradication. Every effort is being made to mobilise government resources as well for the Programme so that finances are available to support a robust program strategy in this crucial phase of polio eradication.”

She said the government has on its part made substantial financial investment into the Program reflecting Pakistan’s strong ownership and political will.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said that while Polio Programme continues to seek support from partners in addressing the resource gap, “we remain mindful that these resources belong to the children of Pakistan and every penny has to be spent prudently to protect them from polio. We are greatly encouraged by expression of overwhelming support of international partners and understand that this is a reflection of a strong partnership that has withstood the test of time.”

She informed that substantial progress this year is evidenced by sharp decline in polio cases and continuously shrinking positive environmental samples linked to the increasing access to children in insecure areas and improved programmatic performance. “Availability of adequate resources for 2016 is of pivotal importance to sustain critical activities,” she added.

The representatives of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, government of Japan, JICA, Islamic Development Bank, World Bank, USAID, CDC-USA, Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF and GIZ as well as embassies of China, Bahrain, Turkey and Australia on the occasion expressed appreciation for the government’s commitment to the cause. They expressed their willingness to support the programme and pledged the amount after consultation with their respective countries.