Impressed with India's successful effort in polio eradication, Pakistan is keen to emulate the model to achieve polio-free status even as it allayed fears of exporting the virus to the Indian side.
A nine-member Pakistani delegation today met India's Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior officials of the Ministry and took tips on the polio eradication programme.
"We are learning from your country. We hope that this will bring us closer in relationship to India.... The components of your plans are very useful for us. The focus of our visit here was for us to learn first hand from the government officials and partners exactly what it took for India to become polio free," leader of the Pakistan delegation Shahnaz Wazir Ali said.
Ali, who is special assistant to prime minister on social sector, said their visit is in context with Pakistan's efforts on polio eradication and in view of the fact that India has managed to achieve a polio-free status as on January this year.
"We've learnt a lot. It's been very educative, very informative, extremely valuable and very impressive," she said, adding that they were equally impressed with the fiscal and financial effort that the central government put in.
"Our meeting with the Health Minister was very useful. We have invited him to visit Pakistan so that we can have more sharing and exchange of information. We do hope that an exchange of experts can exchange with each other," she said after meeting India's health minister.
Allaying India's fears of polio virus spreading from Pakistan, Ali said there is no risk of the polio virus being exported. She said India shares border with Pakistan's Punjab province, which has reported only one case so far this year.
"There may be concerns on the border. The likeliness of polio virus being exported to India from Pakistan is very low, and historically, it has not happened.... We have also set up polio booths at Wagah border to check this," Ali said.