PESHAWAR - Secretary Social Sector, Fata, Dr Aftab Durrani has called upon the government officials in tribal areas to lead the polio eradication programme in their respective agencies and initiate efforts on war footing basis to root out the menace from Fata.

He expressed these views while speaking at a day-long orientation workshop on Polio Eradication Initiative for Political Agents & Assistant Political Agents Fata here on Monday. The programme was organised by Directorate of Health Services Fata in collaboration with UNICEF.

Director Health Services Fata Dr Fawad, Deputy Director EPI Fata Dr Shoaib, Deputy Director EPI Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr Jan baz Afridi, Programme Specialist Fata DR Rafiq, CM Focal Person on Polio, Dr Imtiaz, Health Officer Fata Dr Qayum, Communication for Development Officer,  Shabnam Afzal, Media Officer Shadab Younas, Chairman Provincial Corp Group NRDF Jalaluddin Khan, Emergency Response Officer Fata, Jamal Afridi, WHO Team leader Dr Ubaid were in attendance.

Expanding on his thoughts, Dr Aftab Durrani urged upon the political agents and assistant political agents to take a as supervisors and administrators of their agencies to contribute to the polio eradication programme by owning it and to take exemplary action against officials found negligent. He said that the political agents should work as agents of change and should put polio eradication on their priority list second only to maintenance of law and order in their agencies.

He said that “We have to stop transmission on polio virus by July 2012 as it was one of the targets set in the augmented National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP)” launched in November 2012 by the government of Pakistan to wipe out polio from the country.

Dr Aftab said that the pride of the nation was at stake due to polio and the country might be put on the list of sanctions if we fail to eradicate the menace in 2012. Dr Aftab also stressed on the performance of the teams saying unless our teams work well it would be difficult to meet the objectives of Augmented NEAP.

He said that the situation in Fata was different due to precarious security situation besides other issues like inaccessibility and mobile population and therefore special efforts were needed to address the matter. He went on to add that security situation is improving gradually in Fata and hoped that it would yield positive results in terms of polio eradication in the volatile region.

Secretary Social Sectors Fata also asked the participants to involve Fata based NGOs in the Polio eradication drive. Director Health Services Fata Dr Fawad Khan DR Fawad, while spelling out the objectives of the event asked the political agents to own the programme and show their commitment to meet the NEAP requirements.

 Programme Specialist Fata Dr Rafiq made presentation on the communication aspects of the Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) and apprised the participants of the social mobilisation activities supported by the UNICEF.