ISLAMABAD - The national rollout of School Mobilisation Campaign for Polio Eradication was held at the Federal Government Girls High School, Tarlai, here on Monday with Polio Heroes pledging to work for eradication of the disease.
Shahnaz Wazir Ali, special assistant to the prime minister on social sector, was the chief guest at the occasion while representatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), Rotary and government were also present on the occasion.
The School Mobilisation Campaign aims to engage 100,000 students from 5,000 government schools in the 33 highest risk districts of the country.
At least 20 students from each of the participating schools will be identified as Polio Heroes and would actively participate in creating awareness about polio campaign days and ensuring that no children are missed in their localities during vaccination campaigns.
The venue presented the scene of a funfair with school drummers welcoming the participants and raising slogans against polio. The proceedings were dominated by the students who made presentations on the cause of polio, its spread, its history and what can be done for eradication.
Nearly 30 Polio Heroes entered the arena blowing whistles and raising slogans for Polio eradication, an activity which these young Polio Heroes will do during upcoming campaign days in the streets as the vaccination teams go from door to door to vaccinate children against Polio.
Speaking on the occasion Shahnaz Wazir Ali appreciated the activity and hoped that the Polio Heroes would contribute to ensuring that all children are vaccinated against Polio. She asked the Polio Heroes to ensure that all children are vaccinated against Polio and work to make their area Polio-free.
Surrounded by a large number of Polio Heroes, Ms Wazir Ali administered oral polio vaccine drops to a child to officially inaugurate the campaign. Representatives of UNICEF, WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International also spoke on the occasion.
The School Mobilisation Campaign is being launched across the country by UNICEF in collaboration with the government and other partners.
Polio Heroes form a keypart of Polio eradication efforts in high-risk districts and will help raise awareness about the upcoming polio campaign dates in their areas. They will also hold rallies, display polio posters, distribute informative leaflets and ensure that no child is missed during the campaign. They will also provide support to vaccination teams by identifying missed and ensuring their vaccination.
In another event held at the Directorate of Health, Islamabad, Shahnaz Wazir Ali briefed senior media representatives on the Polio situation in the country.
The briefing was attended by senior journalists Fahad Hussain, Muhammad Malik, Faisal Rehman and others.
Dr. Guido Sabatinelli, Country Representative, WHO, Pakistan said in Pakistan, the health managers and journalists need to work hand in hand to ensure that the public has adequate and technically sound information to protect them from disease and disability.
The activity concluded with the journalists administering Oral Polio Vaccine to children.
Speaking on the occasion Fahad Hussain said polio eradication is a major concern and assured media support for creating awareness on the issue.