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Everyone needs to play role for polio eradication: Kaira

Islamabad: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Wednesday urged all political and religious parties and other segments of society to play their active role for eradication of polio from the country.

Addressing the participants of an inauguration ceremony of the documentaries on “Polio victims the spirit of Survival” he said it is the responsibility of all the political religious parties, media and all segments of the society to play their role to eradicate polio.

He expressed gratitude to the international donor agencies for cooperating with Pakistan in eradicating polio.He said the present government has turned the polio campaign into a national movement and President Asif Ali Zardari and polio Ambassador Aseefa Bhutto Zardari are leading the initiative in the memory of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.They both have resolved that they will not rest till the last child is protected against the disease.

The Minister said along with Lady Health Visitors’ programme, polio eradication was one of the two major programmes launched by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto to improve health conditions and save our children from disability.He said Shaheed Benazir Bhutto held the cause of mother and child health very dear and took landmark steps to improve the lot of this vulnerable segment of the society.

Kaira said Mohtarma Shaheed’s vision was taking health care to the doorsteps of the poor the needy and the marginalized.The Minister said Pakistan is amongst the last three countries of the world with polio and this indeed is a cause for concern.If countries like Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Egypt can eradicate the disease why not Pakistan, he questioned.

The Minister said the government, UNICEF and other coordinating agencies have nothing to gain from the campaigns on polio-eradication except ensuring that no child becomes victim of this crippling disease.He said a field staff of 160,000 is busy in administering polio drops to children in trying circumstances at a cost of billions of rupees just to save our children.He urged media not to take it as a paid campaign but a national responsibility for a welfare programme.

The Minister regretted that some elements are trying to discourage administration of polio drops to children on the pretext of religion, culture or traditions and by doing so they were neither serving the
religion nor the culture.

He said Islam tells us that you save the entire humanity if you save one life. Kaira expressed gratitude to the international donor agencies for cooperating with Pakistan in this important programme.
He said the world appreciated Pakistan’s performance in polio eradication despite challenges and difficult circumstances when President Asif Ali Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari presented Pakistan’s progress at the United Nations recently.

On the occasion Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shahnaz Wazir Ali said the polio eradication initiative is the largest public
health effort in Pakistan with a workforce of over 160,000 men and women who provided protection against life long disability to every Pakistani including the very poor and marginalized at the doorstep.

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