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Pakistan hopes to eradicate polio by 2020

ISLAMABAD

Pakistan is gearing towards eradicating polio by 2020, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said after a meeting with top WHO officials.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two remaining countries in the world with ongoing wild poliovirus transmission. The WHO along with the UNICEF and other key partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is supporting Pakistan to ensure that it achieves polio-free status.

“I would like to reaffirm Pakistan’s commitment to the eradication of polio. We hope to end Polio in Pakistan by 2020,” Qureshi tweeted Tuesday after meeting WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region Ahmed Al-Mandhari.

Pakistan has come a long way in its struggle to eradicate polio. In the early 1990s, the annual incidence of polio was estimated at over 20,000 cases a year. The number of cases has declined from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and 8 in 2017. In 2018, a total of eight polio cases have been reported.

Meanwhile, the WHO in a tweet also applauded the Pakistan government’s commitment and efforts to end polio.

(PTI)

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