ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the nation to support his government’s anti-polio efforts to ensure uninterrupted journey of economic progress and building a positive image of the country.
Unfortunately, Pakistan is among only two countries which still have traces of polio, despite numerous successes rendered by polio staff, he said while addressing the launching ceremony of the national immunisation campaign here on Friday.
The prime minister said the eradication of the polio virus was vital for both the children as well as the future of the whole nation.
During the three-day drive starting on December 16, around 39.6 million children would be vaccinated across the country by around 260,000 vaccinators.
Four more polio cases detected in K-P, year’s tally reaches 98
The campaign is being held in what is called the low season in which the virus usually weakens due to winter and is eliminated through such vaccination drives.
The prime minister, who earlier administered polio drops to children of up to five years of age, advised mothers to approach the vaccination centers personally in case they were missed by the vaccination teams.
Terming the polio workers heroes, the premier said they had sacrificed a lot in their endeavor to purge the country of the polio virus. They had been targeted by the militants and braved harsh weather conditions as well as visited risky areas to vaccinate the children, he added.
Female polio worker gunned down in Bannu
The prime minister told the gathering that the spread of polio virus in Pakistan could have serious repercussions particularly for the workers going abroad besides discouraging foreign tourists to visit the country.
Prime Minister Imran thanked the donors for extending their cooperation to Pakistan in its course of becoming a polio-free nation.
Earlier, PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said polio remained a national emergency.
He regretted that 98 fresh polio cases have been reported this year. “In 2014, 326 polio cases were reported in the country and the figure was brought down to 12 last year. However, due to a number of factors, polio cases have increased.”
He said all the shortcomings, identified in the polio administration, are being overcome.