ISLAMABAD: Like other parts of the globe, World Polio Day was also observed in Pakistan on Friday to create awareness about the hazards of the crippling disease.
The day designated by the World Health Organization is a reminder of Rotary New Zealand part in the fight to eradicate polio, which would be only the second human disease to be eradicated.
On the occasion, government health officials said that polio eradication campaign can be made result oriented with the support and guidance of Ulema.
They said that Ulema’s role is very important in making public opinion and creating awareness in masses. They said that the government is focusing on protection of citizens from lethal diseases and solution of various health problems including eradication of polio.
Only three countries included Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan have still transmission of the wild polio virus. Overall, remarkable progress has been achieved in the fight against polio.
Since 1988, the number of polio cases has been reduced 99% from 350,000 a year to about 400 in 2013. In 2014, Southeast Asia was certified polio-free.
Earlier this year, the Director-General of the World Health Organization declared polio to be still a public health emergency of international concern. As such, WHO urged polio-impacted countries to ensure travelers leaving their borders are immunized against the disease.
Rotary worldwide, made polio eradication its top priority in 1985 and has since contributed US$1.3 billion, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries.
A highly infectious disease, polio still strikes children mainly under the age of five in parts of Africa and South Asia. Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death.
There is no cure for polio, but for as little as 60 cents worth of oral vaccine, a child can be protected from the disease for life.