Pakistan's on Right Path To Polio Eradication: Health Secretary


by Hamna Bano

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On the 12th of July 2023, Iftikhar Shallwani, the Secretary for the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination, expressed his confidence in Pakistan's remarkable progress on polio eradication. Despite facing numerous challenges, the country has taken significant strides and is firmly on the path to eliminating polio within its borders.

Speaking on behalf of Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel, the federal health secretary highlighted the Government of Pakistan's unwavering commitment to polio eradication during the 22nd meeting of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) in Geneva. 


Highlighting the significant steps made, the secretary emphasized that polio eradication has been and continues to be a top priority for the Pakistani government.

He also said that “the government’s commitment is evident from the fact that polio campaigns continued largely uninterrupted in 2022 even when the country faced political transition, a climate catastrophe, and economic hardship.”

Secretary Iftikhar Shallwani added, “The emergence of polio cases last year after a historic gap of 15 months was a stark reminder that while we have made remarkable progress, the work is far from over, and even greater determination is needed now more than ever. We are confident that we are on the right path, and we will interrupt virus transmission this year.”

In addition to Sohail Rajput representing Sindh, Zahid Akhtar Zaman representing Punjab, Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry representing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Abdul Aziz Uquaili representing Balochistan, and Dr. Shahzad Baig representing the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication Coordinator represent Pakistan at the IMB meeting, which runs through July 13.

The IMB is a group of objective, independent global health professionals that evaluates the eradication of polio's progress and obstacles and publishes an annual report. The IMB encourages accountability and transparency in polio eradication initiatives worldwide through its independent assessments and recommendations.