Health: (Health minister expresses concern over cancellation of polio campaign)

January 13, 2015 Off By Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: Ms Saira Afzal Tarar, Minister of State for National Health Services Regulation and Coordination, while chairing a high level meeting to review polio campaign held last December and the preparations for the upcoming round this month has expressed concern over cancellation of the polio campaign in parts of Karachi due to security reasons.

The minister was informed that the campaign in 5 UCs in Karachi had to be canceled last December due to security deployment issues.

The high level meeting was attended by Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Muhammed Ayub Sheikh Secretary National Health Services, Dr Assad Hafeez DG Health, and heads of International Partner Agencies.

The meeting took stock of the quality of polio campaign launched during last December. The minster observed that we need to focus on quality of campaigns rather than frequency and that there was a need to focus our efforts on the consistently non performing UCs.

The criteria for quality campaign is set as minimum of 90% coverage. Any coverage less than this is not acceptable, the minister added saying that some UCs were conducting campaigns frequently but were unable to reach 90% mark. With regards to the situation in Karachi, it was agreed to discuss the proposal of holding special campaigns on weekly basis with strict security cordon.

To this end Secretary National Health Services was asked to hold urgent meeting with CCPO Karachi and to finalize the arrangements with regards to security deployment. It was also decided to constitute a special committee for Karachi on polio eradication.

The meeting expressed appreciation for improvement in performance of Kila Abdullah in Balochistan and FR Bannu for achieving high level of IPV coverage. The meeting also noted with concern that all six Lot Quality Assessments Survey (LQAS) carried out in Peshawar had failed indicating poor quality.

The meeting called for ensuring coherence between operational, security & communication plans for polio campaigns. It was decided that emergency operation centers at the federal and provincial level will perform at their optimal level.

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