Islamabad, October 20, 2015 - A mentionable 80% decrease in polio virus load has been witnessed and Pakistan being hailed globally for continued polio eradication efforts, said Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Ayesha Raza Farooq on Tuesday.

She was chairing the 6th National Islamic Advisory Group’s (NIAG) meeting here at Dawah Academy of International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI), where efforts for polio eradication, streamlining religious scholars for polio free Pakistan and decision and implementations of previous meetings were reviewed by the NIAG members.

The daylong meeting sessions were also chaired by Maulana Sami ul Haq, Head, Jamia Darul Uloom, Nowshera and Dr. Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh President IIUI and Chairman NIAG.“Although there has been significant progress made towards polio eradication in the country, there is now a need for collaborative efforts to get rid of this crippling disease” said Ayesha Raza Farooq.

She added that Pakistan in the year 2014 faced an outbreak situation of polio in the security compromised areas but in 2015 with balanced efforts, well designed strategies, role of Ulema and other key stakeholders government was successful to tackle to arrest the circulation and there is overall 80% reduction in the viral load which is appreciated at all levels.
PM’s Advisor apprised that NIAG with the support of Provincial Scholar Task Forces (PSTFs) has now a religious advocacy plan till December, 2015 which focusing on the highest risk districts and UCs in the country.

Dr. Al-Draiweesh said in the meeting that Ulema playing pivotal role in eradication of polio, while we would have to further focus on removing misconceptions against the polio vaccine. IIUI President lauded government’s efforts and appreciated the decrease in number of polio cases. He added that it was result of dedication to the solution of problem. He suggested the educational institutions should be involved in arranging awareness campaigns and polio eradication policies while adding the conferences on the issues would be helpful.

He also apprised the participants regarding the training programs held by the Iqbal Institute for Research and Dialogue of IIUI and told that varsity scholars travelled to the far flung areas amid awareness campaigns and arranged training programs for the target audience. He also added that Dawah Aacemy is significant platform in terms of training as it is serving Muslim world in this regard for 3 decades.

In a presentation, Dr. Zubair Mufti team leader World Health Organization (WHO) told that Pakistan was having 306 cases of crippling disease in 2011 and now improvement has been seen and only 38 cases has been reported this year. He added that number of vaccine deprived children has decreased to 16,000 from 5 lack while he urged that “momentum has to be maintained”.Qari Hanif Jalindhri General Secretary Wafaqu Madaris, while discussing the previous decisions said that Provincial task force for polio eradication has come up with positive results and Islamic scholars’ contribution must lauded.

The meeting was also attended by Dr. Atta ur Rehman of Inter faith Religious Council Baluchistan, Dr. Soahil Hassan Director Dawah Academy, Dr. M Azam from High Risk Population Unit, Haji Muhammad Hanif Tayab, Chairman of Rotary Ulema Committee, Ammar Shafiq Communication Officer WHO, Sahab Saqib Hashim and Muhammad Azam Khan WHO Islamabad and Muhammad Danish Murad Advocacy Officer PM’s Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell.