President Asif Ali Zardari has appealed to the people to fully cooperate in the campaign to make Pakistan free of polio.
In a message on the eve of launching of the Polio Eradication Campaign on November 8, President Asif Ali Zardari said: “I wish to compliment all those involved in the polio eradication drive and call upon the people to fully cooperate in it to make Pakistan a country where no child lives in the fear of being crippled for life.”
“Polio is a crippling disease that continues to threaten opportunities for our children,” he added. He said, “It is a matter of concern that Pakistan is among the few countries in the world which is still not completely polio free. I feel a special responsibility towards eradicating Polio from the country.”
He said the Polio Eradication Initiative was first launched by the government of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Our daughter Aseefa Bhutto Zardari was the first ever Pakistani child to have been administered polio drops by her mother Shaheed Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto as the Prime Minister of Pakistan in the campaign launched in April 1994 under her watch.”
“Aseefa Bhutto Zardari has since been nominated by the government as Pakistan’s Ambassador for Polio Eradication, to carry forward the mission of her great mother,” he said adding, “Pakistan has come a long way from 1994, when the polio eradication campaign was first launched formally. Yet we are not completely polio free. Our aim is to make Pakistan completely polio free. We must do it; we will do it.”
The president said, “Unfortunately the extremists and militants opposed the vaccination of children against polio on the ground that it was foreign funded and that it made the Muslim children infertile.”
“We have fought against this mindset, and will not permit militants to deprive our children of basic health care. In the fight against this crippling disease we also need to produce polio vaccines locally,” he added.
He called upon the government to step up efforts for the indigenous production of polio vaccine. He hoped that the people will respond actively and positively to eradicate polio by ensuring that every child of their area gets two drops of polio vaccine regularly.”
“Let us on this occasion pledge that no child who should get polio drops, will be missed out.” The president complimented the Health Ministry, the provincial and local governments, international community and partners and workers participating in the polio campaign and wish them all success in their task.