Reiterating the government’s resolve to make Pakistan polio-free country, President Asif Ali Zardari said all efforts would be made for the complete eradication of the viral disease from the country.

The president also directed health authorities to follow innovative strategies in reaching out to those parts of the populace that were still serving as reservoirs of the virus.

In his view, there should be no reason why the virus transmission could not be interrupted in the province if effective implementation of innovative approaches with optimum utilization of resources and proper vigilance was ensured.

Addressing a specially-convened meeting at the Bilawal House to review the current situation vis-à-vis polio eradication efforts in the country, he gave out the directives to eradicate the virus at earliest.

He ordered the provincial government and other authorities concerned to especially focus on addressing epidemiological challenges that included the presence of the wild polio virus in the sewerage water and the immunity gap and performance failures in some parts of the metropolis.

President Zardari noted, “Special attention should be paid to raising awareness about this crippling disease in the rural areas of the province where literacy rate was low and people did not have access to adequate medical facilities.”

He directed the provincial commissioners and deputy commissioners to personally monitor the campaigns and ensure that the anti-polio drive reaches out to the maximum population.

He recommended the authorities to consider setting up permanent booths, in collaboration with non-governmental organisations, at all transit points of the province.

The meeting was informed that Sindh reported a total of 33 polio cases in 2011 compared to 27 polio cases in 2010. The province has reported three polio cases so far in 2012 from Hyderabad, Larkana and Mirpurkhas districts.

It was revealed that the overall provincial vaccination coverage by finger marking in Sindh province stood at 98%. All districts/towns had 95% vaccination coverage by finger marking with the exception of Orangi, Liaquatabad and Gulberg towns of Karachi.

The president insisted that polio eradication was an achievable objective and he saw no reason why this crippling disease cannot be permanently eliminated from the country.

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