Nation’s economic, image building linked with polio eradication: PM

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 13 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday urged the nation to join the government’s anti-polio efforts to ensure the uninterrupted journey of the national economic development and for building a positive image of the country.

Addressing the launching ceremony of the National Immunization Campaign here, the prime minister said the eradication of the polio virus was vital for both the children as well as the future of the whole nation.

During the three-day drive starting on December 16, around 39.6 million children would be vaccinated across the country by around 260,000 vaccinators.

The campaign is being held in what is called the low season in which the virus usually weakens due to winter and is eliminated through such vaccination drives.

The prime minister, who earlier also administered polio drops to the children, advised the mothers, having children of up to five years age, should approach the vaccination centers personally in case they were missed by the vaccination teams.

He said unfortunately, Pakistan was among two countries infected with polio virus in the world.

Terming the polio workers heroes, he said they had sacrificed a lot in their endeavor to purge the country of the polio virus.

They had been target killed by the militants and also braved harsh weather conditions and visited risky areas to vaccinate the children, he added.

The prime minister told the gathering that the spread of polio virus in Pakistan could have serious repercussions particularly for the workers going abroad for earning besides discouraging the tourists to visit the country.

He said amid the national economy getting stability, increasing exports and enriching the country’s positive outlook, it was essential to eradicate the polio to continue the pace of national development.

The prime minister also thanked the donors for extending their cooperation to Pakistan in its course of becoming a polio free nation.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health, Services and Regulations Dr Zafar Mirza said after coming a long way, the country was passing through a bad patch in its anti-polio efforts.

He said the number of polio cases had been reduced to 12 in 2018 which jumped to 98 this year.

He said through a deep introspection and detailed reviews of its efforts, the government knew the epicenters of new cases.

He said with the help of it partners, the government made all out efforts to fill the gaps and took remedial measures where required.

Zafar Mirza said this would be the last drive of this year and called upon the parents to join hand with the government to eradicate the virus in the coming years.