Standoff with India: Pakistan refuses to allow import of finger markers for Polio Campaign

The government directs Health Ministry to procure from any other WHO certified source

Aftab Ahmed

Islamabad: Pakistan has refused to allow finger markers to be used during polio campaign and working on a plan to procure from any other WHO certified source due to the current standoff with India.

Sources told Newztodays.com that Commerce Division informed that Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination had approached for permission to import WHO pre-qualified finger markers to be used during polio campaign.

Polio eradication is being tackled by the government as a national public health emergency and a national emergency action plan is being implemented across the country under the direct oversight of the national task force headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

WHO and UNICEF are the key implementing partners of the Pakistan Polio Programme assisting the government’s efforts to effectively reach and vaccinate children under five in Pakistan. The quality and coverage of each polio campaign is assessed by seeing a child’s finger which is marked using a special marker after administrating droops to the child.

Health ministry had intimated that at present there are 400,000 markets from India pending for custom clearance at Islamabad. Moreover, 10,025000 markers had also been procured and are in transit in India. Officials said that in line with the decision of the cabinet trade with India had been suspended. However, subsequently vide SRO-978(1)/2019 dated 02-09-2019 import of therapeutic products regulated by Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan from India had been allowed.

In order to facilitate the Polio National Emergency Action Plan across the country, commerce division had proposed the government to grant permission to import of above mentioned quantity of WHO pre-qualified finger markers through WHO from India.

The government had directed that given the current standoff with India, the required finger markers be procured from any other WHO certified source.

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