KARACHI: Ziauddin University has organized an interactive seminar “Polio Free Pakistan– A Dream?” to commemorate the World Polio Day and create awareness about the damage of polio besides gathering support to improve the eradication efforts on Thursday.
The seminar was addressed by notable personalities including Vice Chancellor, Ziauddin University, Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim, Dr Durr-e-Naz, Deputy, Dr Salah Muhamdd Tumsah, Dr Khawar Mehdi, Mansoor Ahmed Bhalli, Dr Zain Yousuf Ally, Dr Kamran Hameed, and Dr Nida Hussain.
Prof Pirzada Qasim said that the university would take all possible measures to control and prevent this contagious disease. “Ziauddin University is determined to eradicate polio virus and we offer all our services for this noble cause.” He urged the teachers, students, scholars, and media to play positive roles in raising awareness and educate people.
“Pakistan is one of the three countries where polio remains endemic and immunization campaigns have failed to achieve their target. In 2014 only, Pakistan recorded more than 200 cases beating its own previous polio record and leaving two other endemic countries, Afghanistan and Nigeria, behind where polio count stands at 12 and 6 respectively. “Of the 217 confirmed polio cases in Pakistan in 2014, 19 were from Karachi and two from interior Sindh,” says Dr. Durr-e-Naz Deputy Director, Expanded Program on Immunization.
Dr Salah Muhamed Tumsah brought some astonishing facts to the limelight. He reckoned that Karachi serves as an amplifier in exporting Wild Polio virus (WPV) nationally and globally, and ending Polio in the metropolitan will end Polio not only in Pakistan but in all EMRO. “Karachi continues to be a problematic area with 26 of the 33 cases in Sindh Province in the last three years.”
Dr Khawar Mehdi stressed that individual efforts can make a huge difference. He encourages the students to raise community awareness, support the coverage of missed children and impart technical education to masses like methods of hand washing, ORS preparation and use of latrines.
Dr Nida Hussain highlighted the hurdles in the eradication of polio virus. “Security and lack of awareness are the key issues. The problem isn’t that we are not reaching people – it’s just the opposite – we are not reaching their minds,” Dr. Nida added. She motivated the students to play their part in making these efforts successful. “Help us reach parents’ mind so they can come up with a demand to immunize their child against nine deadly diseases, and not only polio.”
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