The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday reiterated commitment to support the government of Pakistan in its efforts to eradicate poliovirus from the country.
On the eve of the World Polio Day (Oct 24) WHO Pakistan at an in-house ceremony, recognized the contributions of the Pakistani government, polio workers, caregivers, civil society and donors, who are united in fight against polio in Pakistan.
While speaking on the occasion, WHO’s country representative, Dr Palitha Mahipala said, “After more than 30 years of efforts, the African region was certified as free of wild polio in August this year. It’s a great and momentous achievement that we are able to celebrate this on this World Polio Day and are working hard to ensure that Pakistan can be the next country on the journey to a polio-free world.”
Dr Palitha noted that the polio eradication programme and partners affirmed they would remain undeterred and urged all to get behind this national cause. “Due to enormous challenges such as misconceptions about vaccines and the Covid-19 lockdowns, the efforts against polio have been affected.
The polio programme with its partners, has now been able to ramp-up activities with a revitalized resolve to end polio in Pakistan, as recently done by Africa, he said.
Dr Palitha added that the global partners including WHO and UNICEF had contributed a lot in supporting the government in this noble and global cause of polio eradication. However, more is needed to end polio once and for all.
A key factor in its success is the hard work of over 260,000 frontline workers. While addressing the audience Dr Palitha applauded them saying, “They are our real heroes in this effort, and with the provided support, they have made us proud by vaccinating millions of children during each campaign.
While highlighting the role of community and parents, Dr Palitha said that now when the polio immunization activities have safely and smartly been resumed in the country, it is highly needed that every child receives necessary vaccination. He added its moral and social responsibility to the community, caregivers and parents, to play their active role in vaccinating children against this crippling disease.