LAHORE   -   The Punjab Emergency Operation Centre and Punjab Welfare Trust for Disabled jointly initiated a new project for the rehabilitation of polio patients in Punjab. The formal ceremony was organised at the EOC Punjab here on Saturday.

EOC Coordinator Punjab Salman Ghai and Director Punjab Welfare Trust for Disabled Dr Izhar Hashmi signed the agreement from their respective organisations following extensive consultations.

The ceremony was attended by WHO and UNICEF provincial polio chiefs with officials from the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department.

The project will facilitate the patients to lead a normal life

The plan comprises registration to provision of electric wheelchairs, skill development, psycho social support, physiotherapy programme, microfinance, employment facilitation and other support.

Dr Izhar Hashmi said: “The PWTD maintains a database of disabilities related to vaccine preventable diseases. By synergising our efforts, we will be able to realize the dream of a polio free Pakistan”.

Under the agreement, a joint steering committee will oversee the rehabilitation and vaccination initiative. The complete database of all polio patients and status of their rehabilitation will be reviewed at the EOC in monthly meetings. A joint work plan has also been made with quarterly targets.

Salman said: “The support of the PWTD is vital for polio programme as they have the experience of working on polio related disabilities. From disease surveillance to social mobilisation and rehabilitation, the PWTD can play vital role in all areas, hence we have joined hands and synergize our efforts in a systematic way.”

With this initiative, Punjab becomes the first EOC in the country to have covered the rehabilitation along with prevention through vaccination. The PWTD is an autonomous organisation operating under the Punjab Social Welfare Department.

A total of 37 polio cases have so far been reported in county during the ongoing year while Punjab has reported three cases so far, all three from Lahore.