Peshawar: Pakistan, one of the worst Polio-hit country, has received an assurance from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that it will fully back the government's efforts to eradicate the crippling disease.
A two member delegation of the USD 42 billion foundation, one of the main contributors for Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) in Pakistan, here called on Senior Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai and assured all out support to the government on behalf of the foundation in polio eradication.
The delegation called on the Khyber Pakhtunwa Minister at the newly established Emergency Operation Center (EOC).
The delegation comprising Waqar Ajmal, Senior Programme Advisor BMGF and Sue Gerber appreciated the government for playing the lead role in polio eradication that was putting the future of the country at stake.
The prime objective of establishment of EOC was to provide a common platform to all the stakeholders to pool in their energies for polio eradication.
The delegation underscored the need for closer coordination among all the stakeholders with government leading the programme from the front to achieve the required objectives.
Speaking on the occasion, Tarakai welcomed and thanked BMGF delegation for construction and refurbishment of EOC and vowed to personally lead the programme so as to ensure the optimum results.
Earlier, the delegation visited various sections of the center and met with the staff placed at EOC by government, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO).
Pakistan now accounts for 80 per cent of global cases and is one of only three countries at risk of exporting the disease outside its borders, according to the WHO.
The country has recorded 296 cases last year, the highest number of cases reported in the country since 1998.
Majority of the cases have been reported from areas that are inaccessible due to security related issues such as North Waziristan agency, Khyber Agency, FR Bannu and parts of South Waziristan agency.