Rawalpindi - World Polio Day was observed in Rawalpindi on Tuesday with the commitment to root out the lethal disease from the country.

This year, the day was observed to commend and acknowledge sacrifices of thousands of polio workers who go door-to-door to vaccinate children under five against the paralyzing disease.

To mark the day, students belonging to different government colleges along with their faculty members visited the polio high-risk union councils 3 and 4 of Rawalpindi and apprised parents of the risk of polio to their children.

The visit was arranged on the request of Coordinator of Emergency Operation Centre Punjab Dr Munir Ahmad with a view to seeking the cooperation of parents in the fight against the disease.

The students during the visit of high-risk union councils distributed informative material about prevention of polio among parents in the streets and in the households and engaged parents in the streets and in households.

The students and other officials informed the parents that environmental samples of Rawalpindi have tested positive seven times during the current year which is an ample proof that their children are at heightened risk of contracting poliovirus.

Talking on the occasion Afra Saleem, a student from Government Degree College Rawalpindi said, “We have come here to show solidarity with the polio teams who are making untiring efforts to safeguard the future of Pakistan. The parents should vaccinate their children.”

The students were accompanied by district health officials of immunization programme and local organisations.

The visit of the students is one of the initiatives taken by the government to sensitize parents with a view to reaching every child in polio campaigns and to ensure that no child remains missed during and eventually the virus is eliminated.

So far in 2017 five children have fallen prey to the crippling virus in Pakistan and one of them belongs to Punjab.

Meanwhile, a seminar was arranged at District Council Hall by District Health Authority and World Health organization (WHO). District Health Authority Chief Executive Officer Dr Muhammad Sohail, District Officer Health Dr Abdul Jabbar, Director Social Welfare Muhammad Aslam Maitla, Dr Sarwat coordinator WHO, Dr Uzma Hayat, Communication Officer Bushra Ahmed, Raja Masood Chairman UC 08, representative of Allied departments and other concerned officers attended the seminar.

While sharing his thoughts at the seminar, Dr Muhammad Sohail said that observance of World Polio Day was not only aimed to renew our pledge to work with more dedication but also to pay tribute to those numerous Polio workers who have been an active part of this campaign and laid endless services to eradicate it.

He said that although there are only five cases of polio in Pakistan, it still stands among three countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan) worldwide that are not declared polio-free yet. However we have made progress and it is hoped that with same commitment we will very soon be able to call our country Polio Free zone, he vowed.

Dr Abdul Jabbar, District Officer Health at this occasion added that with the coordinated efforts of all government departments we have not witnessed any polio affected case in Rawalpindi from last seven years.

He said that anti-polio campaigns have been launched in the district frequently under strict monitoring and they are also launching awareness campaigns in this regard to address the reservations of people and myths attached to it which has so far affected the results of anti-polio activities.

Social Welfare Department Director Aslam Maitla said that it was not just for one organization and institution to undertake the task rather it is now the responsibility of everyone in the country to play its active part to nip this evil of Polio in the bud.

He assured Health department of their full cooperation in this regard. Chaudary Muhammad Hussain furthermore added, “Provision of a healthy environment to our people is our main priority however coordinated efforts of both government departments and community are needed to make the region Polio free.”

The seminar was concluded by awarding distinguished Polio staff with shields and cake was also cut in the end.