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World Polio Day - Government of Pakistan reaffirms commitment to eradicate polio

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Islamabad, 23 Oct 2020 – Today, as the world commemorates World Polio Day, the government of Pakistan reaffirms its commitment to eradicate polio and making the country polio free.

World Polio Day is celebrated on the 24th of October every year. This year’s theme is “**A win against polio is a win for global health”** acknowledging that after 30 years of global hard work, humanity is very close to achieving the goal of having a polio-free world. With a victory of Africa certified as wild polio free, Afghanistan and Pakistan remain the last to join the globe. At this crucial moment of time, the world highlights that as long as polio exists anywhere, it will remain a threat everywhere.

In his message on World Polio Day, which coincides with the launch of another anti-polio campaign, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan acknowledges the importance of eradicating polio for global health. He said “Government is fully committed to make Pakistan polio free forever. It is absolutely necessary that children receive this life-saving vaccine and I request all parents to allow polio team to administer polio drops to their children, I am confident, together with our people and international partners, we will achieve our target of making a safer, healthier and polio-free Pakistan for our children.”

The Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme will launch a sub-national polio eradication campaign from 26th October to 1st November to vaccinate more than 30 million children under the age of five in 128 districts across Pakistan. The campaign will include 33 districts of Punjab, 33 districts of Balochistan, 41 districts of Sindh, 8 districts of Gilgit Baltistan, 10 districts of AJK and one district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During this campaign more than 210,000 frontline workers will go door to door to protect children from this crippling disease. The vaccinators will continue to adhere to stringent COVID-19 preventative operating procedures as they did in the campaigns conducted in July, August and September.

According to Dr. Rana Safdar, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme, “While we may have not achieved zero cases, the Pakistan Polio Programme has been able to secure the future of millions of children by continued vaccination. Despite multiple challenges, our frontline workers remain committed and are the real heroes. Today, on World Polio Day, we are celebrating and recognizing their achievements,” said Dr. Rana Safdar.

“World’s eyes are focused on Pakistan and the government is committed to eradicate polio virus from the country. Now it's up to the parents and society as a whole to vaccinate their children and open doors to frontline workers to get rid of not only the polio but all other vaccine preventable diseases,” added Dr Safdar.

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Note to Editors:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system, and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunizations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free.

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For further information, please contact:

Mr. Zulfiqar Babakhel, Media Manager, NEOC, 0345-9165937

Email: zababakhel@gmail.com