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Islamabad to propose joint-anti polio drive to Kabul

Islamabad to propose joint-anti polio drive to Kabul

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Apr 15, 2015 - 11:30

ISLAMABAD: In the backdrop of stepped up bilateral contacts, Pakistaninfo-icon is set to propose Afghanistaninfo-icon coordinated, simultaneous polio vaccination campaigns to tackle cross-border transfer of the virus.

Pakistan’s Dawn.com quoted a senior healthinfo-icon official with polio programme on condition of anonymity that the issue would be discussed at a meeting scheduled in Kabulinfo-icon on Thursday and Friday.

In the past, the paper said that the polio virus had been transmitted between the two neighbouring countries which share a long border. Although children are vaccinated at legal entry and exit points along the border, a large number of people cross the border illegally each day.

The official said though the crippling-disease had been eradicated from most parts of the worldinfo-icon while Pakistan and Afghanistan remained the last reservoirs for the virus.

“Moreover, the virus is transmitted between the two countries because of frequent movement of people across the porous border as Pakistan is also hosting Afghan refugees. It is especially difficult to vaccinate people who cross the border illegally,” he said.

The official said coordinated campaigns between Afghanistan and Pakistan would be proposed at the meeting scheduled. “It is hoped that simultaneous campaigns in the border areas will ensure that no child is missed,” he added.

The Pakistani delegation to Kabul will be led by Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication Ayesha Raza Farooq and will include head of the Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Dr Rana Safdar. The meeting will also be attended by the Afghan minister for public health and representatives of UN agencies.

PANinfo-icon/Monitor/rm

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