KARACHI (Jan 9): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the polio has become a big challenge for his government but “I have accepted this challenge and Inshallah would turn Sindh polio free province shortly.”
This he said while presiding over a high profile meeting on polio here at the New Secretariat today. Those who attended the meeting include Health Minister DR Sikandar Mendhro, MNA Dr Azra Pechuho, Provincial Polio coordinator Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, IG police AD Khowaja, Additional IG Karachi Mushtaq Maher, Secretary Health Fazal Pechuho, all divisional commissioners, CEO PPHI, PD EPI Fayaz Jatoi, representatives of federal government, representatives of WHO and Unicef and others.
Briefing the chief minister, the PD EPI Fayaz Jatoi said that during 2016 some 19 polio cases were detected all over Pakistan, of them eight in Sindh, eight in KPK, two in FATA, one in Balochistan and zero case in the Punjab. He added that out of eight cases of Sindh seven are in rural areas and one in Karachi.
The chief minister was told that in 2015 there 54 polio cases in the country, including 12 in Sindh, 17 in KPK, 16 in FATA, seven in Balochistan and two in Punjab. On the chief minister said that it was painful that Punjab, Balochistan, FATA and KPK have improved but Sindh has shown a negligible progress. This shows that there is some problem which we have to address.
The meeting was informed that the campaign launched in end of September and December 2016 the target in Karachi was to cover 2.2 million children and 6.1 million children in rural areas of the province. In the city out of 2.2 million some 2.6 percent children were not available and 1.7 percent refused to intake polio vaccine.
On this the chief minister expressed his displeasure saying that it becomes of the responsibility of the district administration to ensure 100 percent coverage. “We all have to give ownership to the anti-polio drive, otherwise Sind would remain lagged behind and I would not allow this he said,” he said.
It was also disclosed that the staff in the KMC- managed health facilities are reluctant to participate in polio and EPI activities. It was also pointed out that LANDHI UC-I and UC -2, SITE UC 9, Baldia UC 2 are at high risk because of lack of health facilities. Apart from it there are non-functional hospitals in UC-4 Gadap Janat Gul Hospital. On this the chief minister directed Chief Secretary to talk to KMC administration and direct them to ensure proper participation otherwise action would be taken.
In the meeting it was disclosed that in Sujawal Hospital there was no District Health Officer and on last Friday the DHOs were posted at Matiari and Jamshoro and some of the DHOs are near retirement. The DHOs of Ghotki and Kamber have dual charges. On this the chief minister directed health Minister to fill the vacant positions of DHOs on priority basis and those who are retiring much be replaced timely and take away dual charges from the DHOs and post there genuine officers.
The chief minister noted that there were only 2200 Ice-lined Refrigerators (ILR) and due to prolonged power outages polio vaccines are turning ineffective. On this the chief minister directed the chief secretary to procure ILR operating on solar system. “I cannot wait for donor agencies to send the ILR because polio is a serious issue, therefore we should purchase the cooling system,” he said.
The chief minister directed the health minister and secretary health to activate Lady health Workers (LHWs) and utilize their services for eradication of polio from out province. The chief minister was informed that they were on the protest because they have not been paid their salaries from the last four months. On this the chief minister ordered finance department to release their funds immediately and pay them salaries.
When the chief minister was returning from Secretariat the LHWs were protesting near PC hotel. He got out of his car and told them that he had released their salaries. Even then the LHWs were not satisfied and wanted to sit with the chief minister solve their issues. The chief minister invited nine of them to the CM House where he held a meeting with them in the conference room.
The meeting was attended by health Minister Dr Sikandar Mendhro, Principal Secretary to CM Naveed Kamran Baloch, Secretary Health Fazal Pechuho, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi.
The chief minister said he has already released their salaries and their rest of issues like repair of their vehicles, provision of Petrol and payment of their salaries in time would be made accordingly. He directed Secretary health to meet the delegation of LHWs and solve their problems within next three days.