PESHAWAR - UNICEF Chief of Polio Unit in Pakistan Per Engebak has stressed the need for concerted efforts to eradicate polio disease, saying specially the role of media is too much important in this regard.

"People know about polio but still there is need to work collectively against the disease by vaccinating children. We will have to work hard to reach every child who requires polio drops," he said this while speaking at a one-day media orientation workshop on polio eradication here on Tuesday.

He said that polio could only be eradicated by polio vaccination. "It is the right of each and every child to protect him from all such disease," he added.  Per Engebak said that in today's world, media were playing a leading role. To educate people about polio, nobody can deny media's role as it could play a significant role in this connection. Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Social Welfare Dr Meher Taj Roghani, Director Health Services KPK Dr Abdul Ghafoor, senior journalist Salim Safi, Deputy Director EPI programme Dr Janbaz Afridi and Additional Director EPI programme Dr Rahim Khattak were also present on the occasion. In the current year, a total of 28 polio cases have so far been reported in Pakistan, of which 23 cases detected in FATA and KPK.

Moreover, polio affected children in Sindh and Balochistan also belong to Pakhtun tribes. In last 10 months, at least 11 polio volunteers and three security guards have been killed in attacks on polio eradication teams, additional director EPI programme Dr Rahim Khattak said.

He feared that there is the possibility to ban Pakistanis on travelling abroad, if polio was not eradicated in the country. "Unfortunately, Pakistan is among the three countries where still children become victim of polio disease," he informed. He said in current year, six and seventeen polio cases have so far been detected in KPK and FATA respectively. He told the participants that ban on travelling by Pakistanis to other country may be imposed if polio was not eradicated, adding that Saudi Arabia has already made it compulsory for Pakistanis to administer polio drops to their children before entering to the Kingdom.

Director Health Services KPK Dr Abdul Ghafoor said that media could play and vital role in eradicating polio by creating awareness among the public. He said that provincial government would arrange such programs in future.