ISLAMABAD: Polio eradication will be one of the top agendas at the upcoming G7 summit in Japan to attract international attention to eliminate the crippling disease globally.
This was announced on Tuesday by a group of Diet Task Force on Global Polio Eradication from the Japanese parliament while visiting the National Emergency Operation Centre for Polio (NEOCP) and interacting with national anti-polio team and development partners. The next G7 summit will be held in May.
The delegation is in Pakistan to get firsthand information on polio eradication efforts of the government and the challenges it is facing. The information will be shared with the Japanese government and other international donors to plan future financial and technical strategies.
“The idea behind making polio eradication a part of discussion among the G7 leaders is to build pressure on the international community to accelerate anti-polio efforts,” NEOCP coordinator Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar told The Express Tribune.
Japan is a longstanding partner of Pakistan in its anti-polio efforts and has been providing funds for the past 19 years to buy vaccines, to set up cold storages and for spreading social awareness. Japanese assistance amounts to over 16 billion yens.
Safdar said the delegation took keen interest in the initiatives of the Pakistani government, especially in the 12 high-risk districts, and the challenges against curbing the transmission of polio virus. “The delegation also showed interest in collaborating with Pakistan to manufacture polio vaccine.”
The task force group earlier called on Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq also.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2015.