With an aim to make Pakistan polio-free, 15 cyclists on Thursday embarked on a three-day journey from Islamabad to Peshawar to spread awareness about the crippling and potentially fatal disease.
Accompanied by an ambulance and a van loaded with necessary items for the trip, the cyclists began their journey from the Pakistan Monument at Shakarparian Hills.
Titled “Pedal for Peace and Polio Eradication”, the campaign is a joint initiative of the National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP), Global Polio Eradication Organization, Taleem Foundation and Pakistan Association of Free Flying.
The cyclists will stop at Kamra and then Nowshera on the first and second day before reaching Peshawar, where they will be received by Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Assembly Kiramatullah Khan.
During the campaign inauguration ceremony, Wajid Ali Khan Durrani, the inspector general of NHMP, emphasised on the need to create awareness about polio and to form strategies to root-out the disease.
“Polio is preventable and every child can be spared from its agony by just few a drops,” said Durani. To accomplish this goal, he said, the NHMP is administering polio drops to thousands of children at toll plazas along the motorways.
The IG said that over 170 polio cases were reported last year and for the past three years this (reported cases) number averages more than 100.
Durrani called for forming local communities to identify children in their area vulnerable to polio and inform doctors or concerned government officials so that these children can be inoculated for the disease.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2012.