KARACHI: We must give the [anti-polio] campaign top priority, said Rotary International Ambassador for Polio Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, appealing to parents to come forward and get their children vaccinated.
There have been major improvements in the anti-polio programme but we must not rest till the disease is completely eradicated, she said.
Aseefa was delivering on Tuesday her address during the inauguration of a five-day anti-polio campaign for Karachi. In 1994, Aseefa became the first child in Pakistan to receive an oral polio vaccine as part of the country’s first National Immunisation Day. Benazir Bhutto, the then prime minister, gave the drops to her daughter herself, which was a compelling endorsement of the nascent campaign.
Continuing her mother’s mission to eradicate polio from Pakistan, Aseefa administered polio drops to children and distributed gifts among them at a health centre in Shah Faisal Colony on Tuesday.
Pakistan has come a long way in polio eradication since the 1990s, from hundreds of cases of polio to only two polio cases so far this year. Out of the two cases this year, none are from Sindh, Aseefa was told during the inauguration.
She also spoke to mothers at the health facility, asking them about the problems their communities faced. She assured that that she will help them resolve issues such as lack of sanitation facilities and potable water. For this, she requested Korangi’s deputy commissioner to look into the matter and address it.
With the target of administering polio drops to approximately 2.3 million children under five years of age, the campaign will cover all the six districts and 188 union councils of the city.
Technical Coordinator Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Korangi DC Syed Mehdi Ali Shah, Karachi commissioner, Karachi Focal Person for Polio Dr Nusrat, provincial team leaders from WHO and Unicef, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Technical Focal Person Dr Ahmad Ali Shaikh, Sindh Government Hospital’s medical superintendent and Korangi’s district health officer were also present on the occasion.
The campaign continues till May 27.