Pakistan Looks To India For Guidance On Polio Eradication Efforts

“Impressed with India’s successful effort in polio eradication,” a nine-member Pakistani delegation on Thursday met India’s health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior officials of the Ministry to discuss the country’s polio eradication program, the Press Trust of India/Business Standard reports, noting that India achieved a polio-free status as of January (5/31). “‘The focus of our visit here was for us to learn firsthand from the government officials and partners exactly what it took for India to become polio free,’ leader of the Pakistan delegation, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, said,” the PTI/Times of India writes (5/31).

“The Pakistani delegation also met Bill Gates,” co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the PTI notes (5/31). “He expressed the hope that Asia would be polio-free, with Pakistan and Afghanistan making efforts to eradicate the disease,” and said the situation in Pakistan, where some groups are migratory in nature, “was different, as many people still did not know that the disease travelled with people,” the Hindu writes (Dhar, 6/1). In related news, examines the issue of cross-border transmission between the countries, writing, “Despite apprehensions, India is not at risk of the polio virus being exported from Pakistan, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Shahnaz Wazir Ali said … Thursday.” The news service notes, “Posts have been created on [the] India-Pakistan border to administer polio drops to children in a bid to stop export of the virus from either side” (5/31).

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