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Federal Secretary NHSRC joins crucial Pakistan-Afghanistan Polio meeting

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Islamabad, 12 October 2023 (WAI): Iftikhar Shallwani, Federal Secretary of the National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination (NHSRC), attended the final session of a two-day cross-border polio coordination meeting between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Dr. Nek Wali Shah Momin, Director of the National EOC, and the technical team represented Afghanistan in the meeting. The summit was a significant step forward in the region’s collaborative efforts to eradicate polio.

During the session, Secretary Shallwani reiterated his commitment and steadfast support for the combined efforts to eradicate polio in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. He stressed the value of intense collaboration and coordination between the two near neighbors to realize their shared vision of a polio-free zone.

Secretary Shallwani addressed the meeting and appreciated the efforts that have been undertaken to eradicate polio. He acknowledged the difficulties and barriers encountered but praised the tenacity and grit of government officials and healthcare professionals on both sides of the border. He commended their commitment to the cause and their dedication to immunizing children.

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Secretary Shallwani stated, “We understand the critical importance of this issue, and the Pakistan government, in collaboration with our Afghan counterparts, is committed to overcoming all hurdles in the way of a polio-free region.”

Dr. Nek Wali Shah Momin, Director of the National EOC, stated that both countries discussed viable and practical strategies to stop poliovirus transmission between the two countries. He noted, “Many people travel between Afghanistan and Pakistan, increasing the likelihood of poliovirus transmission between the two countries.”

The meeting covered various subjects related to polio eradication, including vaccination programs, data exchange, and coordinated initiatives to ensure that every kid is protected from the debilitating disease. Participants discussed their polio-related experiences, best practices, and subsequent goals.

Also Read: Pakistan Strongly Condemns Israeli Aggression in Jenin

Pakistan and Afghanistan’s coordinated strategy is critical in facing persisting polio obstacles, such as vaccine hesitancy and security concerns. Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to working together to address these concerns.

The final session concluded with the signing a joint declaration reiterating both countries’ commitment to the worldwide campaign to #EndPolio. This statement emphasized their dedication to collaborating closely with non-governmental partners, local communities, and international organizations to ensure the success of immunization efforts.

The conference ended optimistically, with Secretary Shallwani expressing confidence in the region’s ability to overcome the polio threat. He thanked all contributors for their struggle and devotion to a polio-free world.

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