ISLAMABAD: The UK’s Department for International Development today announced that it will provide an additional US$7 million to support Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate polio. The funds will be channelled through the World Health Organization (WHO). The contribution comes in response to intensified polio eradication efforts this year, which have led to progress in curbing the disease. In 2007, 13 cases have been reported, compared to 40 cases in 2006. The disease is more geographically restricted than ever, with most of the country now polio-free. Transmission of polio is restricted to tribal areas of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the northern Sindh / eastern Balochistan area.
“Polio eradication is a shining example of what can be achieved in the spirit of international partnership,” said Mr M Nasir Khan, Federal Minister for Health, Pakistan. “On behalf of my compatriots, I would like to thank DFID for its ongoing support to polio eradication. We are committed to attaining a polio-free Pakistan.” This latest contribution from the UK is part of DFID’s ongoing support to polio eradication in Pakistan, following a previous commitment of US$22.6 million in 2005 and 2006. DFID has also provided more than US$613 million in support at the global level, and is the second largest public sector partner to the global initiative.
“We are proud to be an ongoing partner in Pakistan’s quest to protect all children from polio,” commented Dr Yusaf Samiullah, Head of DFID Pakistan. “We commend the Government’s commitment to improving the lives of Pakistan’s children, and we will continue to do everything we can to support the Government to rid Pakistan of this dangerous and devastating disease.” “This generous new contribution comes at a critical juncture,” said Dr Bile, WHO Representative in Pakistan. “It means that our operational costs through to the end of the year are now fully met. We can now continue to build on the tremendous progress that has already been achieved this year.”-SANA