ISLAMABAD - A two-day International ulema conference on polio eradication commenced on Sunday to overcome the barriers to vaccination in the country.
Prominent Ulema and religious scholars from inside the country and aborad participated in the opening session of the conference to make a strategy for having effective polio immunisation mechanism.
The purpose of the conference was to bring together the religious leaders and apprise them about the challenges of polio eradication in Pakistan, particularly with respect of mis-information in the name of religion, which has resulted fears in certain communities.
The participants in the opening session discussed in detail the role of Ulema in reaching children in the inaccessible areas with focus on North and South Waziristan.
They also discussed the root-causes of the barrier between vaccinators and children with focus on Karachi besides discussion on current situation of polio eradication and why and where are children un-reached.
The participants also discussed how to eliminate the concerns of Ulema and ensure them that polio vaccine is not harmful for health and no element of harram is in its ingredient.
The conference also discussed guidance on strategies that can effectively overcome current situation and political challenges to polio eradication in Pakistan.
Addressing the participants, Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar said that polio eradication campaign can be made result oriented with the support and guidance of Ulema.
She said that Ulema’s role is very important in making public opinion and creating awareness in masses.
Saira Afzal Tarar said that provision of health facilities is top most priority of present government. The Government is focusing on protection  of citizens from lethal diseases and solution of various health problems including eradication of polio.
She said “In order to make Pakistan a developed country we must emerge as a healthy nation.” She underscored for administration of polio vaccine drops to children for becoming a healthy nations.
She said, “Safeguarding the health of our children is not only our social responsibility but a moral and religious obligation as well. Islamic Scholars can play a leading role in educating the parents to fulfill their obligations to ensure a healthy and happy life of their children.”
She said that it is high time to eliminate concerns of those circles,who consider polio eradication campaign as dubious thing and they never  accepted campaign of polio eradication. During two-day conference, an in depth discussion will be held with focus on specific issues to eradication and immunization of polio from Central, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and some areas of Karachi and Quetta.
A joint statement will be prepared at the end of the conference. Those Ulema who attended the opening session including Maulana Hanif Jalandhari and Allama Tahir Ashrafi. President Islamic Development Bank, representatives of Islamic Fiqh Academy, Al Azhar, World Health Organization (WHO) and Focal Person of Prime Minister’s Polio Eradication Cell Ayesha Raza Farooq also attended the opening session.