Home > Programme to fight polio faces a gaping $100 million hole

Programme to fight polio faces a gaping $100 million hole

Coordi­nator Nation­al Emerge­ncy Operat­ion Cell for Polio confid­ent the gap will be fulfil­led



ISLAMABAD: Pakistan requires financial assistance of up to $100 million from its potential donor agencies to fill the existing financial gap in order to sustain critical polio eradication activities for the upcoming 2016-18 period.

The issue was raised during a high level donor coordination meeting for resource generation for polio eradication initiative in Pakistan held on Tuesday and attended by senior officials from Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC) and representatives from all international partner agencies and a number of embassies besides representatives from Economic Affairs Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Planning Division.

While sharing details of the meeting with The Express Tribune, the coordinator of National Emergency Operation Cell for Polio Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar said that Pakistan’s polio programme requires $311 million for the year 2016-18.

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From the required amount Islamic Development Bank has so far committed $100 million, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has committed $60 million, Rotary International has committed $7 million and the Canadian government has pledged $30 million.

“Despite all the financial assistance Pakistan is still facing a shortage of $100 million required to effectively run the critical programme activities during 2016, therefore all potential donors are requested to come forward and support the country,” he said.

Dr Safdar was hopeful that donor agencies will come forward to fulfill the financial gap, however in case the required amount is not received, the government of Pakistan will provide the shortfall.

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Meanwhile speaking on the occasion the Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said, “Polio program continues to seek support from partners in addressing the resource gap and we remain mindful that these resources belong to the children of Pakistan and every penny has to be spent prudently to protect them from polio.” “We are greatly encouraged by expression of overwhelming support of international partners and understand that this is a reflection of a strong partnership that has withstood the test of time.” She added.

Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said, “Every effort is being made to mobilise resources for the programme so that finances are available to support a robust program strategy in this crucial phase of polio eradication.”

Secretary Ministry of National Health Services Muhammad Ayub Sheikh on the occasion informed the participants that Polio Emergency PC-1 is being placed before the National Economic Council during the month of November.

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Earlier, Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar informed the participants that this year till to date a total of 38 polio cases have been reported in the country.

All efforts are underway to bring down the polio count however the major challenges that the country is facing to achieve this goal is Peshawar block and Karachi where there is a continuous circulation of polio virus.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2015.

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