Karachi: Ziauddin University organized an interactive seminar “Polio Free Pakistan– A Dream?” to commemorate the World Polio Day, and create awareness about polio besides gathering support to improve the eradication efforts earlier this week.
Prominent personalities including Vice Chancellor Ziauddin University Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim, Dr Durr-e-Naz, Dr Salah Muhamdd Tumsah, Dr Khawar Mehdi, Dr Mansoor Ahmed Bhalli, Dr Zain Yousuf Ally, Dr Kamran Hameed and Dr Nida Hussain addressed the seminar.
Prof Pirzada Qasim ensured that the university will 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 a positive role in raising awareness and educating people about the condition.
Pakistan is one of the only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic and immunization campaigns have failed to achieve their target. In 2014 alone, Pakistan has 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 2 from interior Sindh,” says Dr. Durr-e-Naz Deputy Director, Expanded Program on Immunization.
Dr Salah Muhamed Tumsah brought some astonishing facts to light. He reckoned that Karachi serves as an amplifier in exporting Wild Poliovirus (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 significant difference. He encouraged students to raise awareness on community level, support the coverage of missed children and impart technical education to masses, such as correct 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.” She motivated the students to play their part in making these efforts successful. “Help us reach parents’ minds so they can come up with a demand to immunize their child against nine deadly diseases, and not only polio.”