PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman and Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Governor Zia ul Haq Amarkhel on Saturday reiterated strong commitment of their governments for polio eradication and vowed to initiate joint efforts for stamping out polio virus from the last endemic region.
They stated this at a joint commemoration ceremony held on Saturday to commemorate World Polio Day.
Also present on the occasion were KP Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz, Peshawar Division Commissioner Amjad Ali Khan, Additional Secretary Health (Polio) Abdul Basit, and Khyber District Deputy Commissioner Mehmood Aslam.
In a joint press statement issued on the occasion, governors of the both sides agreed to strengthen coordination and to initiate synchronized polio campaigns to boost immunity of children living on both sides of the borders.
The top government representatives agreed to identify and plug the remaining gaps with specific focus on vaccination of pedestrians and travelers moving across the border and pockets of refusals that was causing the spread of virus.
The statement read that the people living on both sides of the border share common language, cultural, religious and socio-economic ties unpinning the need for spearheading common interventions to increase community acceptance of vaccination.
It was agreed to explore possible avenues of cooperation and advancing connectivity through existing government bodies like emergency operation centers (EOC) and cross border meetings for integrated services.
“World Polio day is a stark reminder of the fact that polio is still paralyzing children of this region while the rest of the world has already eradicated the disease and protected their children from the crippling disease,” the statement read.
It said that today’s event will usher in a new era of joint efforts and commitment by the neighbouring countries for global and national cause of polio eradication and will help ensure that all the target children under five are vaccinated in every round of anti-polio campaign.
Speaking on the occasion, Additional Secretary Health (Polio) Abdul Basit said, “Joint vaccination of children by high dignitaries of Pakistan and Afghanistan is a good omen and we need to build on it by establishing stronger coordination channels to fix issues effecting people living on both sides of the border.”
He said like other parts of the country, Provincial Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) KP in coordination with Rotary International is observing World Polio Day by renewing resolve and commitment for stamping out the virus from the region.
It merits mentioning that this year the theme of World Polio Day is “One Day- One Focus-Ending Polio”.
Earlier, KP and Nangarhar governors shook hands and exchanged bouquets as a good will gesture and vaccinated children to mark world polio day.