Rotary Ambassador for Polio Ms Aseefa Bhutto Zardari celebrated ‘World Polio Day’ at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Polio on Wednesday.
Aseefa Bhutto also administered polio vaccine to children on the occasion and met officials managing the polio programme in Sindh.
EOC coordinator Mr Fayaz Jatoi and Sindh EOC Technical Focal Person Dr. Ahmad Ali Shaikh welcomed her to the polio cell. During the ceremony, Ms Aseefa Bhutto Zardari gave presents to children and conversed with their families. Following this there was a cake cutting ceremony to mark the World Polio Day which is observed on October 24 to raise awareness regarding polio.
Ms Aseefa Bhutto appreciated the efforts made by the Sindh Polio team in the eradication of the virus. “Pakistan has come a long way in polio eradication, from 306 cases in 2014 to 6 cases this year, this shows vaccines work and that we are close to eradicating polio from this country,” she said. “It was the dream of my mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to see a polio free Pakistan, we will make sure that dream becomes a reality,” she added.
Aseefa Bhutto thanked the people working at EOC for the purpose of polio eradication. “I thank those working tirelessly at the EOC, it is their efforts that have brought the country to the brink of polio eradication,” she said.
Furthermore, she appealed to parents to vaccinate their children. “No child should have to suffer from a vaccine preventable disease, I appeal to all parents to vaccinate their children with two drops of the polio vaccine every time they are offered,” she said.
“As we celebrate World Polio Day, I also want to thank the women working at the frontline of this programme, their efforts and sacrifices have brought us success and without them nothing was possible,” she said.
Ms Aseefa was joined by EOC Advisor Madam Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Chairman of the National Polio Plus Committee Mr. Aziz Memon, Sindh UNICEF Chief of Field Office Cristina Brugiolo, EOC Technical Focal Person Dr. Altaf Bossan and team leads from World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
After the ceremony Ms Aseefa Bhutto Zardari tweeted that: On World Polio Day we recommit ourselves to the eradication of polio in Pakistan. We must protect every child from this crippling disease. It was the dream of my mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to see a polio free Pakistan and it has become my mission to make her dream a reality.
World Polio Day is an opportunity to raise awareness around vaccination. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the last two countries in the world which are still polio endemic but great progress has been made with historically low cases in Pakistan in 2017. This shows that the country is taking concrete efforts to eradicate polio and the day is not far when we will have a polio free world.