ISLAMABAD: Amid recent upsurge of polio cases in Pakistan, the government is going to initiate a media campaign by introducing ‘polio awareness logo’ on all the government advertisements for educating the masses to vaccinate their children against this crippling disease. This would be a full-fledged campaign, to eradicate this disease from the country.
In a meeting of the federal cabinet that met on September 17 with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, the Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting informed the cabinet that the Ministry of Information was raising awareness on Polo by introducing a logo on all government advertisements in the media. The initiative will not cost any additional funds but help in raising awareness regarding the need of polio vaccination.
The government will establish 100-line call centers especially in polio reported areas to address the parents’ concerns and complaints regarding vaccination.
So far, this year, 69 polio cases have been recorded in Pakistan, after three cases reported last week –two from Khyber Pakistan and another from Sindh. This is the highest tally since 2014 when 306 cases were reported in Pakistan. Last year, only a dozen cases were reported.
After this highest number of cases emerged in Pakistan, the UAE government through its polio initiative in Pakistan called the ‘Emirates Polio Campaign’ to eradicate this virus from Pakistan by year 2022. Among other international partners, the UAE government was also supporting Islamabad in this drive through various financial and technical supports.
Pakistan and its neighbour Afghanistan are the two countries in the World left that have the polio cases and yet to be declared polio-free.
Recently, the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations (UN) Office in Geneva hosted an invitation-only event centered on polio eradication at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva. It also sensitized other donours regarding this challenge and asked them to support these countries in eradicating this disease.
Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations, UN and other International Organisations emphasised the leading role played by the UAE under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and its partners in polio eradication and their commitment to innovation in health.
An exhibition focused on polio throughout the week including “Everyday Heroes”, a photo series by Pakistani photographer Mobeen Ansari, featuring profiles of many of the healthcare workers behind Pakistan’s polio programme. Ansari’s project was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The exhibition included a short film and photos profiling the work of the Emirates Polio Programme and the programme has delivered 417 million polio drops to children under five years old hitherto. WHO has developed Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023.
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