World Bank team appreciates Pakistan’s Polio Programme

Islamabad, January 20, 2016 (PPI-OT): A World Bank delegation led by Dr. Robert Oelrichs, Task Team leader for National Immunization Support Project (NISP) called on Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication today. The meeting was also attended by Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operation Centre.

Sharing progress on Polio, the Prime Minister’s Focal Person mentioned more than 80% decline in Polio cases during 2015 over the preceding year along with persistent confinement of virus transmission in terms of geographical spread and circulating genetic clusters. She also apprised Mission on how new innovations of Polio plus in health camps, consistent community engagement through long term volunteers and combination of IPV-OPV SIAs helped the programme in turning the situation around.

Dr. Rana Safdar, National Coordinator gave an overview of the national EOC network and explained mechanisms put in place for real time use of valid data for decision making on real time basis. He also appraised the delegation on plans to utilize the valuable system for integrated disease surveillance and response system in the long run to tackle all health threats including emergencies.

The Mission appreciated the commitment that was visible at all levels. Dr. Oelrich made special mention of his visit to the National Emergency Operation Centre a day before. He carried all praise for bringing all partners together as one team under one roof led by the Government that has resulted in amazing progress. He emphasized the need to sustain the EOC structures and mechanisms to support the larger public health agenda of the country.

The World Bank Mission is in Pakistan from 18-29th Jan. 2016 to negotiate on National Immunization Support Program (NISP) and associated multi-donor fund whereby the disbursements would be linked to agreed performance indicators. The NISP project will employ Disbursement Linked Indicators to finance project results. Progress by each province will be monitored with province-specific targets for each indicator, already developed and negotiated according to the province context and capacity.

The Mission during their visit to the National EOC and was particularly impressed by the data management mechanisms including the indigenously developed dashboard. Besides conveying their willingness to finance the Polio Programme, they also indicated interest to support the long term sustainability of the valuable EOC network in the interest of overall national public health agenda.

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Haji Ahmed Malik
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