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KARACHI: Celebrities join in polio drive

March 12, 2004

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KARACHI, March 11: If the outreach teams fail to go door-to-door during the ongoing drive against polio, parents must take their children of one year or less to the designated centres for getting them vaccinated.

This was stated on Thursday by Umar A. Abidi of Unicef at a meeting held in connection with the latest round of the anti-polio campaign. The adviser to the chief minister on health was present on the occasion.

If more than 90 per cent of the children, especially those who are of one year or less, are vaccinated then the target of controlling the spread of polio could be achieved, observed the Unicef's country chief. He explained that no case of polio had been reported in Sindh so far this year.

Mr Abidi said eight rounds of the anti-polio campaign had been planned for the year. He was of the opinion that celebrities could play a leading role in creating awareness of the disease.

The CM's adviser on health appreciated the steps taken by Unicef and the WHO against the killer polio virus. "Without their help we would not have made enough progress."

Noman Saigal expressed the hope that polio would be eradicated from the province by the end of the year. He underscored the need for maintaining the momentum that had already been gained in this regard.

Mr Saigal pointed out that the outreach teams would be busy in administering polio drops to children on Saturday even though that day has been declared a local holiday by the provincial government.

Meanwhile, some celebrities visited the localities of Mehmoodabad and Akhtar Colony to assist the vaccinators in administering polio drops to the children. The visits were sponsored by Unicef.

Shafi Mohammad Shah, Rubina Ashraf, Adnan Siddiqui, Samiullah and MNA Asia Azim knocked on the doors of people and urged them to get their children vaccinated. The celebrities' visit generated a lot of interest in the children and parents alike.

The polio ambassadors saw to it that a large number of children were administered polio drops. Iqbal Dewan, additional secretary (health), Dr Fazal Elahi, the EDO of Karachi, accompanied them on their visit.