PESHAWAR   -  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has reaffirmed the government commitment to erad­icate polio from the province directing all government departments to undertake necessary steps to eradicate polio from the region.

He took notice of the issue and called a high lev­el meeting after a number of polio cases surfaced in the province. The meeting was attended by Chief Sec­retary Saleem Khan, Principal Secretary to Chief Min­ister, MPA Ziaullah Bangash, Coordinator EOC Capt (retd) Kamran Afridi, and other relevant officials of the polio programme.

While addressing the meeting, the chief minister di­rected that all-out efforts should be made to ensure ac­cess of polio teams to every house and every child in the province further directing law enforcing agencies and other relevant government departments to extend complete support to the polio programme during an­ti-polio campaigns in the province.

The chief minister stated that communication efforts should be made keeping in view the local context and cultural sensitivities to address queries and doubts of parents, so that vaccination of every child could be made possible in every anti-polio campaign.

Coordinator EOC briefed the forum on the ongoing case response campaign conducted in Bannu, DI Khan, Tank, South Waziristan, North Wazrisitan, Shangla, Buner and Torghar. The chief minister was also briefed on the prevailing situation of polio programme, chal­lenges, way forward and the support needed.

The meeting was informed that in 2019, so far 24 polio cases have been reported in the country out of which 18 polio cases have been reported from various districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Out of the 18 report­ed cases, eight polio cases are from Bannu, five from North Waziristan, and one each from Hangu, DI Khan, Shangla, Bajaur, and Khyber.

The chief minister also appealed to all parents to co­operate by vaccinating their children and not to pay at­tention to propaganda. He stated that failure in polio eradication will ultimately lead to restrictions like fac­ing international travel bans, damaging national pride and return of Pakistanis working abroad.

Meanwhile, Peshawar Division Commissioner Am­jad Ali Khan has said that polio workers were doing a wonderful job by vaccinating children at their door­steps despite many challenges and hostile behaviour of the community.

He said this while addressing a prize distribution ceremony held here Thursday at Jirga Hall of Commis­sioner Office. Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Mu­hammad Ali Asghar, Additional Deputy Commissioner Mushtaq Hussain, Assistant Commissioner Sarah Re­hman, Dr. Ikram, Dr. Anwar Jamal, representatives of WHO, UNICEF and other relevant organisations also attended the ceremony.

Expanding on his thoughts, Amjad Ali said that po­lio workers were the heroes of the nation and had ren­dered great sacrifices in the line of their duty by laying down their lives. He said polio workers were protecting children from permanent disabilities and deaths by ad­ministering polio drops to children in the campaigns.

However, he added that polio eradication is national emergency and was moral obligation of every citizen of the country to rid the region of the menace for good by vaccinating children against polio.

“Polio workers made door to door vaccination possi­ble despite public outrage against polio vaccination trig­gered by anti-polio propaganda,” he added. He said prop­aganda in April campaign has negatively affected the programme and motivated field workers to work hard to regain public trust on polio vaccination programme.

Earlier, Peshawar commissioner awarded certif­icates and cash prizes to 53 best performing polio workers as a token of appreciation by the government.