Japanese Ambassador visits Polio Campaign in Islamabad

Islamabad, September 27, 2016 (PPI-OT):H.E Mr. Takashi Kurai, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan visited today the Rotary-Shifa Community Health Centre in Islamabad to observe the National Immunization Campaign. During the visit, Mr Kurai expressed appreciation for the significant progress made in Pakistan in the fight against polio and emphasized the importance of continued support to the Government of Pakistan in its pursuit to rid the country of the menace of polio. “Japan remains fully committed to supporting the government toward a world free of polio” said the Japanese Ambassador.

A nationwide immunization campaign has been launched to vaccinate 36,917,551 children under five years of age against polio. Pakistan has made steady and systematic progress over the last year towards the interruption of poliovirus transmission. The paradigm shift from “coverage” to “no missed children” has driven very encouraging results. The proportion of children recorded as “missed” during campaigns and remaining unvaccinated after each campaign has declined to 4% in the 2016 low transmission season. The current National Emergency Action Plan aims to achieve zero missed children.

The number of confirmed wild poliovirus (WPV) cases in Pakistan has declined by 82%: from the 306 confirmed cases seen in 2014 to 54 cases in 2015, and it continues to decline in 2016. With only 14 confirmed cases reported as of August 2016 this year represents a 63% decline in case count compared to a similar period in 2015.

The Government of Japan is one of the leading donors and has supported the Polio Eradication Initiative in Pakistan continuously since 1996. Approximately US$ 212.5 million (JPY 22.6 billion) has been delivered to date, for procurement of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), and, strengthening vaccine management and cold chain system.

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