Pakistan advised to hand over eradication task to NDMA

PESHAWAR: Terming Pakistan’s polio eradication efforts ‘a disaster’, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) has recommended that the charge of wiping out the crippling virus be immediately handed over to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
In a report released on Saturday, the IMB – which independently assesses the progress of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – put aside the Pakistan government’s claims of undertaking ‘all-out efforts’ to eradicate polio and noted that fewer children were being vaccinated in key areas of the country compared to two years ago.
The IMB was established at the request of the Executive Board and the World Health Assembly. Reports from its quarterly meetings go directly to the heads of the partner agencies – the WHO, Rotary International, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and Unicef – and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and are public shortly afterwards.
“Less than a quarter of vaccination campaigns assessed in the last 12 months have met the required standard of 80% coverage,” stated the report compiled following a meeting in London last month. “With 330,000 children from North Waziristan now out of an area where the Taliban had banned polio vaccination, there is no reason the [Pakistan] government should not be able to reach them,” it added.