President urges collective efforts to make Pakistan polio free

ISLAMABAD, Sep 24 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday called for collective efforts to eradicate polio from the country by raising awareness against the crippling disease.

Chairing a briefing on polio eradication here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the president said strict measures needed to be adopted including overcoming of community resistance and building stronger healthcare systems across the country.

The meeting was attended by health partners including UNICEF, WHO, Rotary Club and Melinda Gates Foundation. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza, and provincial chief secretaries were present.

The President said Pakistan was facing myriad challenges in polio eradication and stressed that despite challenges, the issue had no room for complacency.

He expressed confidence that Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme had developed exceptional national expertise, knowledge and systems to beat the virus and to inspire communities and parents to safeguard their children.

He underscored that polio eradication was one of the government’s top priorities. President Dr Alvi commended the efforts of polio eradication teams including health partners and emphasized that the role of Council of Islamic Ideology and mosques must be incorporated in their projects to overcome large-scale community mistrust.

He underlined the need for effective usage of social media and cable television to aware people about the consequences of polio.

The President appreciated the Ehsas-Polio partnership and hoped that it would augur well for the polio eradication campaign.

Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication (PMFP) Babar bin Atta gave a detailed presentation on the current situation of polio cases in the country and about the measures on complete eradication.
He briefed the meeting that all stakeholders were engaged including Ulemas (religious leaders) to convince people to willingly administer polio drops to children and support polio vaccination campaign, especially in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.
The representatives of WHO, UNICEF, Rotary Club, and Melinda Gates Foundation appreciated the government of Pakistan’s efforts towards polio eradication and extended their full cooperation.

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