Pakistan approves 5-year polio eradication plan
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday approved almost $800 million for another five-year programme to eradicate polio, as the authorities remain largely unsuccessful in eliminating the crippling disease despite spending $1 billion over the past decade.
The Central Development Working Party – the body mandated to clear development schemes, approved the PC-I of the project at a cost of $798.7 million. The project will be implemented from 2022 through 2026, according to a handout issued by the Ministry of Planning and Development.
The government will take a loan of $192.5 million from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) while $606 million will be secured in grants from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
The CDWP approved the project cost on the basis of Rs165.27 rupee-dollar parity – the day it plunged to over Rs190 in the interbank market, the lowest in the country’s history.
According to the Planning Ministry, the CDWP had considered six projects under the leadership of Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Mohammad Jahanzeb Khan and approved four out of those.
Since 2010, Pakistan has spent $986 million in eradication of the polio but it could not achieve success. A major chunk of the new $800 million project, $129 million, will be spent on social mobilisation, including $29 million on campaign.
Partner UN agencies, WHO and UNICEF, also charge a handsome amount as administrative expenses to the Government of Pakistan. Out of the total cost, WHO will administrator the $335 million component while the remaining cost of $465 million will be taken care of by the UNICEF.
The objectives of the 2022-26 project are to eliminate cVDPV2 through the delivery of effective vaccines in campaigns, to stop WPV1 transmission in all remaining reservoirs through focused, intensified national efforts and coordinated strategies across international borders, to rapidly detect, contain, and eliminate all types of polioviruses from any newly infected area, and to protect the overall health of populations by maintaining and increasing immunity to polioviruses.
The forum has cleared the Emergency Plan for Polio Eradication project for five years in line with the current National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication 2021-23 and GPEI Strategy 2022-2026 with focus on eliminating the wild poliovirus and CVDPV2 across the country, and achieving post-polio certification.
The primary goal of the project is to interrupt wild poliovirus Type 1 and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus Type 2 transmission as a path to global polio eradication. The programme plans to limit circulation to core reservoirs and shared transmission corridors and then interrupt all poliovirus within the reservoirs by 2024.
The secretary health informed the CDWP that recently two cases of polio were reported in North Waziristan, which emerged from neighboring country Afghanistan. He said that due to the porous border, polio cases emerged from Afghanistan and that matter was discussed with the Afghan government. Pakistan asked the Afghan government to conduct a door-to-door polio campaign and secure the border in order to avoid further polio cases, according to the secretary health.
The CDWP also approved the expansion and upgradation of Pakistan Petroleum Corehouse for its sustainable operations to facilitate oil and gas exploration research at a cost of Rs819.1 million. The Ministry of Petroleum is the executing agency and the project envisages expansion of Pakistan Petroleum Corehouse to increase its storage capacity, upgrade its laboratory facilities for analytical services and value addition of well samples archived in it to facilitate oil and gas exploration.
The Expansion of PETCORE building with additional racking system with storage material (standard wood pulp cardboard boxes and vial trays) for well samples and up-gradation of existing lab facilities through procurement of state-of-the-art equipment will provide necessary services to the E&P sector. The scope of work includes expansion of Pakistan Petroleum Corehouse through construction of new storage capacity (29,064 sq ft), upgradation laboratory facilities for analytical services and value addition of well samples.
The forum also cleared Replacement of obsolete equipment’s & procurement of new electro-medical equipment for National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Islamabad at a cost of Rs524.7 million. The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination is the executing agency for this.