LAHORE - Coordinator of the Punjab Emergency Operations Centre Dr Munir Ahmad has stressed the need for countering propaganda against polio vaccine on social media, saying collective efforts were need of the hour to save coming generation from crippling virus.

Speaking at a workshop on role of social media in eradicating polio on Wednesday, he said that the country has reached final stage of ending polio due to political will and support of international donors. Dr Munir Ahmed was particularly concerned about negative handling of anti-polio drives on social media. “Every anti-polio drive is facing an organized negative campaign on social media mostly from unknown users. Young people who have sizeable following on different social media apps should come forward to counter such baseless propaganda”, he said.

President of Rotary Club Aziz Memon appealed the young generation to defy the negative propaganda of the vested interests so that Pakistan could achieve polio free status in 2019. “Vested interests are involved in negative propaganda against vaccination of children. This evil campaign is aimed at stopping parents from getting children vaccinated”, he said.

Self-medication must be discouraged at all levels: DG Health

Director General Health Services Punjab, Dr Munir Ahmed emphasized giving up the hazardous practice of self-medication by general public to avoid multiple health risks.  He said that self-medication,especially the use of self-advised antibiotics should be discouraged by all the concerned quarters as it brings about negative impact on human health.

He expressed these views while addressing a Policy and Advocacy meeting on Antibiotic Awareness which was organised by Hepatitis and Infection Control Programme Punjab in collaboration with World Health Organization. In recent years,he said, misuse of antibiotics increased by upto 36 percent, adding that Punjab would be the first province where a comprehensive Anti-Microbial Resistance Policy would be formulated in next few months.

Programme Manager Hepatitis and Infection Control Programme Punjab Dr. Zahida Sarwar, Additional Secretary Drugs Control Dr Sohail, Add. Secretary Vertical Programme Dr Saadain, Professor Dr Ghayas un Nabi Tayyab, Dr Irfan Ahmed WHO, and representative from Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital, University of Veterinary Science and Agriculture Department of Punjab were present in the meeting.  Speaking on the occasion, Dr Zahida stressed that unnecessary use of antibiotics had become a global challenge.

The technical stakeholders from various concerned departments also shared valuable inputs regarding how to control misuse of antibiotics  and resulting resistance caused by self-medication and incomplete course  of antibiotics.