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WHO’s Technical Advisory Group Identifies KP As Major Obstacle To Polio Eradication

The World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has identified Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as the major reason behind the increase in polio cases in Pakistan.

According to a report in Dawn, the TAG, in its recommendations, has remarked that the major obstacle to polio eradication in Pakistan is the province of KP, which it said was causing a ‘crises’ with its parallel polio structure.

Elaborating on the parallel polio structure in KP, the evaluation body in its recommendations stated that the KP Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was not aligned with the federal EOC.

The TAG has advised that the polio programme of the province be completely reset, saying that KP’s programme has failed to identify roles and responsibilities while it is simultaneously using a different strategic approach and action plan as compared to the federal government.

The evaluation body declared the communication strategies being used in KP’s polio programme as ‘not fit for purpose’, and identified Federal Administered Tribal Areas’ (FATA) merger with KP and fake finger markings as the major issues troubling the polio programme.

On the other hand, TAG has appreciated the government of Balochistan for its efforts for polio eradication and stated its ‘one-team approach’ to be exemplary. It also noted the good progress made in Punjab in the past couple of months.

Regarding Sindh, the Technical Advisory Group stated that the province was receiving heavy polio virus from KP and advised better immunisation campaigns to the province.

Speaking to media about the recommendation, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Babar Bin Atta said, “My confidence has grown as for the first time we are being advised on measures that will literally transform the polio programme from a disease-control project to a 100 per cent virus eradication programme.”

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He claimed that the recommendations would be implemented soon and there was to be a massive campaign against polio in November.

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