On Jan 10, 2016, a three-member delegation from the Afghan national polio team will be reaching to Pakistan. The purpose of the arrival of this delegation team is to synchronize Pakistan and Afghanistan polio campaigns.
This three-member delegation will be monitoring the campaign that will sooner be starting Pakistan on Jan 11, 2016. It is also in the notice that Pakistan has agreed to support Afghanistan Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). Pak-Afghan Polio accord is the need of the hour for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to experts, cross-border coordination should be now strengthened up at the national and also at the regional levels.
Need of this Pak-Afghan Polio accord
It was told by Dr Rana Safdar who is the head of Pakistan`s EOC that a virus, R4B5C has been existing from Nangarhar to Khyber. Pakistan and Afghanistan have been marked as one block. It is the need of the time to come up with collective strategies so that this disease can be eradicated properly. These polio campaigns will be ensuring that each and every child has been vaccinated. Dr Rana Safdar further told the media that if you are in travel mode then you will also be vaccinated during that mode.
Duties of Pak-Afghan Polio team
- They will be monitoring nomadic movement taking place across the border.
- These teams will also be strengthening transit vaccination
- They will be holding synchronised polio campaigns for a period of five months. National representatives of Pakistan and Afghanistan will also be conducting meetings on the quarterly basis and on the biannual basis. Teams would contact each other and that too twice every month.
Report of Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for Polio
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for Polio declared the Peshawar Valley and also Fata a `conveyer and risky belt` of polio. It also said that this virus has now been moving between Afghanistan and Pakistan. If the situation gets out of control then treating this virus might become impossible.
So far only Afghanistan and Pakistan have been transferring this poliovirus to each other. Both of the governments from these countries should take maximum from this opportunity. They should now be able to plug gaps because it is the season of low transmission and this virus can be suppressed easily. We need strong as well as committed coordination to take ourselves out from this monster disease. Core challenges need to be meet up now.
DAWN Newspaper 08/01/2016