15 June 2022

Qatar Participates in Regional Subcommittee for Polio Eradication Meeting


Doha, June 15 (QNA) - The State of Qatar participated in the 5th meeting of the Regional Subcommittee for Polio Eradication and Outbreaks held via video conference.
The delegation of the State of Qatar to the meeting was headed by HE Minister of Public Health and co-chair of the committee Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari.
The meeting reviewed a number of important topics, most notably, the developments regarding the eradication of polio in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the recognition of the Member States' commitment to the eradication of polio, and the proposed measures for the eradication of polio in the region.
In her speech at the meeting, HE Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari affirmed the State of Qatar's support for the humanitarian work efforts undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO), especially in the field of emergency response.
Her Excellency indicated that last March, the State of Qatar hosted a high-level meeting to discuss the interim health priorities of Afghanistan during the next 18-24 months, as Afghanistan is one of the last two countries in which the disease is endemic. The meeting was an invitation to partners and donors to work together to find ways to stop the spread of multiple diseases, including polio.
As the State of Qatar is a member and co-chair of the subcommittee, there is an obligation to work together to ensure that children in the region are protected from paralysis that is caused by the polio virus.
HE added that progress in Polio in the Eastern Mediterranean region is still fragile, and that so far, nine children have been paralyzed by the wild poliovirus in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The lives of these children could have changed completely if they received a life-saving vaccination during immunization campaigns, HE said, noting that there are children in other countries in the region who fall victim to polio due to low levels of routine immunization.
Her Excellency stressed the need to enhance immunity levels in children, especially those who still lack routine immunization and polio vaccination campaigns, calling for the creation of an enabling environment that allows health workers to reach children with these two drops of the polio vaccine as well as the injectable vaccine.
HE underlined the importance of finding concrete mechanisms in the Eastern Mediterranean region to prevent attacks on health workers and to support the families of victims and survivors of these devastating attacks, noting that in February, eight polio vaccinators, four of them women, were attacked in Afghanistan while performing their work by giving Children polio vaccine.
The loss of health workers is a huge loss for humanity, HE said. Thanks to the efforts of those brave health workers, especially women, an unprecedented stage in reducing the levels of the spread of wild poliovirus in the region, HE added.
HE Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari also commended the cooperation of many countries in coordinating cross-border efforts, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Djibouti, and Somalia, expressing her thanks to the relevant ministries for their efforts in mobilizing domestic funding necessary to implement vaccination campaigns.
The regional subcommittee aims to intensify the solidarity of Member States in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and their commitment to collective actions aimed at eradicating polio. The Eastern Mediterranean Region is the only polio-endemic region, where three new cases of wild poliovirus (WPV1) were discovered in Pakistan last April, and one case in Afghanistan last January. (QNA)


General, Qatar
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