ISLAMABAD-Special Advisor to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services (NHS) on Monday said that super high-risk union councils for Polio need urgent focus of improving the service delivery in union councils.

SAPM on NHS Dr. Zafar Mirza, said this while addressing the inaugural session of the event ‘Polio has been a major concern for Pakistan and more recently, the government of Pakistan has shown strong resolve to address the issue. The Super High-Risk Union Councils for Polio need on urgent basis, a focus to strengthen the compromised health systems and improve the service delivery in these union councils.’

The Ministry of NHS in partnership with the Disease Control Priorities (DCP3) Secretariat, Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, World Bank and World Health Organization organized a consultative workshop to review the polio situation in 40 super high-risk polio endemic union councils and plan for an integrated package of services.

Out of 40 super high-risk union councils, eight are in Karachi, 18 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 14 in Balochistan.

He also emphasized for having an integrated approach to ensure better availability of services to people while tackling the epidemic.

He mentioned “The development of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Benefit Package of Pakistan provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen and improve services at this union council.

It is important that today all the relevant stakeholders deliberate on to ascertain the interventions that need to be included for the DCP3 Polio Sub-Package.”

He emphasized all stakeholders and political parties to work in a collaborative way to end Polio from Pakistan.

Representative of the DCP3 secretariat, Professor Ala Alwan said that the aim of the DCP3 program is to use updated evidence in developing a comprehensive package of essential services to improve access to health care to all citizens without exposing them to financial hardship. Pakistan is the first country collaborating with DCP3 as part of the national strategy to achieve universal health coverage.

He mentioned that Development of UHC Benefit Package of Pakistan offers an innovative approach not only to ensure better health outcomes but also in control of epidemics including Polio.

At this occasion, representatives from UNICEF, WHO, World Bank and Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation expressed their full support to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination not only in introducing an integrated approach for service delivery in Pakistan but also in eradicating the Polio from the country.