PESHAWAR  - Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for polio eradication lauded the performance of FATA health officials and governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for improving the door-to-door access campaign in tribal agencies and mentioned that there has been a reduction of 86 per cent in the reported cases of polio in FATA if compared with the corresponding period of last year.

The meeting of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB)(international monitoring body for polio eradication in Pakistan) was held in Abu Dhabi. The meeting was important since the last board meeting did not go well for Pakistan in the wake of an abrupt rise in the polio cases in the entire country but particularly in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

All the four the provinces as well as FATA were invited to respond and discuss the various issues relating to polio eradication separately, which was a departure from the past when only federal government was required to respond to such issues.

During more than an hour session exclusively on polio eradication efforts in FATA, the board discussed and analysed the information and facts received from various independent sources. IMB lauded the fact that under the clear directions of the Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, a well-planned strategy for polio eradication in Federally Administered Tribal Areas is being executed effectively that resulted in reduction of cases.

Accessibility has improved considerably in the last six months. Overall it has been improved by 56 per cent. Similarly in the critical agencies of Khyber, South Waziristan and North Waziristan, this has been improved by 71 per cent, 21 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. The administration is now in a position to conduct door-to-door campaign in South Waziristan, FR Bannu, Bara Khyber Agency and parts of North Waziristan.

There has been a reduction of 86 per cent in the reported cases of polio in FATA if compared with the corresponding period of last year. In 2014, there were 45 cases of polio from FATA. While in the corresponding time of 2015 there are only six cases of polio from FATA. Right now FATA has reported 15786 (only 2 per cent of the total target) missed children and efforts are underway to reach out to these as well.

The total number of refusals in FATA is 818, which is only 0.104 per cent of the total target. These refusals are demand-base and had nothing to do with ideology or social norms.

The board acknowledged that all those threats issued were actually by militants and people have simply disregarded these threats and decrees after the launch and success of the final phase of the military operations.

Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan lauded the efforts and performance of the concerned officials particularly the front line polio workers for this achievement in eradication of polio in the FATA.

Governor also directed the officials to devise a quick and efficient mechanism for the early payment of honoraria to these front line polio workers.