QUETTA: Influential religious clerics and prayer leaders in Quetta have agreed to help persuade parents to allow their children to be immunised against the debilitating polio virus.
At a conference held under the auspices of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Balochistan, religious leaders, including Maulana Anwarul Haq Haqani, Dr Athaur Rehman, Maulana Abdul Raheem Raheemi, Qari Mateen, Malvi Azizullah, Qari Abdul Rahsid and prayer leaders of mosques in high polio risk union councils gave their assurances to the ECO of their support and said that parents refusing immunization on religious grounds were unaware of religious teachings.
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Addressing the gathering, Dr Syed Saifur Rehman, who heads the Centre for Polio Eradication in the province, said religious leaders have to play their role in raising awareness among the masses regarding the crippling disease. “People follow clerics; it is high time religious leaders fulfilled their social responsibility as the future of our children is at stake,” he added. “Refusal by parents is the main hurdle in eradicating poliovirus from Balochistan.”
Dr Rehman said many parents refuse to get their children vaccinated during campaigns on religious grounds by citing long-running rumours about the vaccine causing infertility.
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Meanwhile, religious leaders attending the conference agreed that denying anti-polio vaccine to children was “against the teachings of Islam” and agreed to launch an awareness campaign during prayers and Friday sermons.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2015.