A health team from Pakistan met Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to understand important initiatives that have helped India eradicate polio.
The nine-member delegation led by Special Assistant to Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahnaz Wazir Ali, expressed appreciation over the progress made by India in eradicating polio over the last two years, despite challenges.
AdvertisementRecognising similarities on issues faced by both nations in reaching out to high-risk groups including the migrant population, Ali said the strategies adopted by Indian health authorities and its partners, could serve as a guideline for health interventions in any polio endemic country.
"A few health officers from various states and districts are also accompanying us to India. There are still quite a number of polio cases in Pakistan, as compared to India. This year, we registered 16 polio cases, and last year, the number of cases was above 40. We are working towards eradicating polio from Pakistan," he said.
"The purpose of our visit is to discuss the issue with India and also get informed about certain ways of fighting it. We want to replicate what India has done in regards to polio and its eradication," he added.
Ali further said that Pakistan clearly wants to adopt steps similar to those taken by India to deal with polio and ensure eradication of the disease.
Meanwhile, National Polio Monitoring Committee Chairperson Azra Fazal Pechuho said internal migration is one of the causes polio prevailing in the country.
"Internal migration is one of the reasons for polio, specifically migration within Pakistan. We are trying hard to ensure that it doesn't transcend international boundaries," said Fazal.
The delegation also exchanged views on key preventive measures to eradicate the polio virus.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three remaining polio endemic countries in the world. In 2012 Pakistan reported 15 cases of polio, a sharp decline from the 198 cases in 2011. With its intense emergency eradication programme Pakistan has reduced the number of cases by over half this year , compared to the same time last year.