Crippling disease: UAE, Pakistan join hands in fight against polio

Published: May 29, 2014
Ali said transporters could play an important role to eliminate polio. PHOTO: FILE

Ali said transporters could play an important role to eliminate polio. PHOTO: FILE


The UAE government has joined hands with the Pakistan government and the army in the fight against polio.

This was announced by the director of the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme (UPAP) Abdullah al Ghefli at a symposium on polio eradication held on Wednesday in Islamabad. The event was organised by UPAP in collaboration with the Pakistan government, army and World Health Organisation (WHO).

Al Ghefli announced the launching of the Emirates Polio Campaign in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) under the motto of ‘healthy and bright future for all’.

Sharing details, he said that the three-month anti-polio drive will start from June this year and vaccinate 3,643,678 children in 13 districts of K-P and 11 districts of Fata.

“The Emirates Polio campaign will be executed in coordination with Pakistan Army, government health departments of Pakistan and WHO under the supervision of special medical cadres from respective authorities,” he said.

A media campaign will also coincide with the polio campaign to alert the public about the risk posed by such diseases and epidemics, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Nima Abid from WHO said 110 children in Fata alone got paralysed due to polio last year. He said it is impossible to eradicate polio from Pakistan without reaching to children in Fata.

“The improper use of vaccination campaigns by certain agencies has adversely affected public health activities in the region, leading to declining participation of the locals,” he said.

“The first and foremost aim is to restore the trust of people of the region and we are positive that participation of UAE government will go a long way in building confidence in these public health activities.”

Dr Abid appreciated the role of Pakistan Army for providing secure environment to the polio workers and running an effective media campaign to educate people about the risk posed by polio.

Meanwhile, Maj Gen Muhammad Ayub, commandant of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, said it is commendable that the army has joined hands with the Pakistan government for eliminating polio from the country.

He said there were many areas in the tribal region where people were unwilling to vaccinate their children because of the fear of militants. But now terrorists in North and South Waziristan are asking locals to provide them polio vaccines for their own children, he added.

Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Ayesha Raza Farooq said it is a privilege for Pakistan that the UAE government has lent its support in the fight against polio.

She said 90% of Pakistan is already polio free and the army was aiding polio workers in reaching out to people in inaccessible areas.

“The efforts made by army have brought down a significant decline in the number of parental refusals for the polio vaccine,” she added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • tank
    May 29, 2014 - 8:35AM

    Good luck!


  • Raj - USA
    May 29, 2014 - 9:49AM

    At the outset, I would say that this is a very good effort by UAE government. However, those who were campaigning against polio vaccinations and blaming Dr. Afridi should think to what level they have brought Pakistan. Pakistan was sending doctors to UAE but now UAE is sending vaccination team to Pakistan. Everyone shares the blame for this. The Army that tried to find a scapegoat to hide their embarrassment when US took out OBL, the Supreme Court that set up Memogate Commissions and also PTI for causing doubts for a long time on NGO’s that were carrying out polio vaccinations. PTI woke up too late after being on the wrong side for too long, by which time they have already done serious damage to polio vaccination campaigns. Conspiracy theorist have cost heavily.


  • Sazid Khan
    May 29, 2014 - 9:59AM

    Best of Luck to UAE-Pakistan relation to boost the effort of Polio eradication in KP/FATA Province which is highly infected by terrorism!!! otherwise other Parts of Pakistan are almost free of such diseases. However International Community should raise such issue on travel ban. However Problem exist in every country In India UP district more than 40,000 children died in Last 10 years due to diseases of Encephalitis .but no body cares. Even in Maoist and Naxalite areas the figures are much more higher!!!!No body Cares.


  • Pakistani
    May 29, 2014 - 10:00AM

    We thank the President of UAE H.E Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi H.E Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai H.E Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, all the Sheikhs of the UAE. May Allah bless the United Arab Emirates, it’s rulers and people who have stood by Pakistan in every adverse situation. May Allah bless Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Maktoum, give them a high reward in Jannah.


  • Sonya
    May 29, 2014 - 10:07AM

    Can’t understand this right – until recently UAE and Saudi Arabia were spending about $100m annually in extremist recruitment networks – and now Polio! Is this to do with damage control initiative by this corporation like country?

  • antanu
    May 29, 2014 - 12:41PM

    @Raj – USA:
    it’s funny…how PTI is to blame among you think that polio spread was only due to the instance of shakeel afridi fiasco ?


  • Muddassar
    May 29, 2014 - 12:43PM

    Take that America!You used Dr.Afridi and we take revenge by not giving our children Polio shots. That will teach the Americans!!


  • Hilarious
    May 29, 2014 - 4:18PM

    @sazid khan

    I just dont get why you guys have to compare with India for everything. Cooking up fanciful figures may help you make some hare-brained arguments (40000 children killed by encephalitis – what are you smoking???) but certainly doesn’t justify the continuance of polio in Pakistan.

    We in India fully support your rid-polio drive – if only so that we dont get it again here in India from you. Only wish you could get out of this mentality of always comparing yourself with us in anything and everything. Truly, you guys need some serious makeover of your education system. Maybe, then, in a few decades you will be rid of this India-obsession!



  • unbelievable
    May 29, 2014 - 6:41PM

    The only people who are responsible for Pakistan polio are Pakistani’s – time to get off the blame train and look in the mirror. The people responsible for ignorance, religious extremism, and anti polio/Western medicine are Taliban and their Mullah supporters.


  • Raj - USA
    May 29, 2014 - 8:30PM

    @Sazid Khan:
    “In India UP district more than 40,000 children died in Last 10 years due to diseases of Encephalitis .but no body cares. …………..”

    Very true and I totally agree with you. No one cares of those who died in India. Nor has anyone cared for more numbers who have died from Dengue or Malaria. In India, hundreds of thousands have died from diabetes in the last 10 years and also many more are suffering from obesity. No one cares !!!!!!!! We have heard earlier, some comparing polio to HIV and TB also.

    Shireen Mazari was at the forefront discrediting Dr. Afridi. Shireen Mazari was conducting classes for Pakistan’s army before she joined PTI. She is a nominee of the Army to PTI. If a party like PTI spins such conspiracy theories it causes more harm than if it were done by a religious party. PTI is a party of youth and people look to Imran Khan as an educated individual with modern / moderate views and if his party comes up with these theories and/or keeps quiet for a long time, it causes more harm.


  • Ihsan
    May 29, 2014 - 9:45PM



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