Former United Nations staffer tipped to become Pakistan’s polio chief

October 8, 2018

A former United Nations Polio staffer and a very close aide of Imran Khan, Babar Bin Atta, is being tipped as Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication for the next five years, SAMAA Digital reported. 

Atta is considered to be one of the country’s top communications and advocacy specialists. He was a part of the core communications team that designed PTI’s media and communications strategy, leading it to victory in general elections.

According to the officials of the National Polio Programme, Babar Atta served in the UN for eight years (2006-2014) as a senior communication and advocacy officer for the polio programme. His name is being tipped in the wake of challenges facing the polio programme.

Babar Atta confirmed that his name was being considered as one of the candidates for the post. “The Pakistan Polio Programme has improved significantly, but frankly by no means to the extent of achieving the final goal, which is to eradicate the virus completely”, he said.

“Even a single polio case is a case too many, as the infected child puts other children in the surroundings at risk,” he said. When asked if Pakistan will achieve the polio-free status in the current regime, he stated that complete eradication is only achievable if we improve our performance.

“Right now, we are doing good but we are clearly short of achieving the goal. I am more than sure that along with the international partners, we can get there and if the PM appoints me as his focal person, I shall make sure we get there,” he added.