Karachi, February 23,  2018 - To help create an enabling environment for the relentless frontline health workers, prominent doctors hailing from Pakistan Pediatrics Association (PPA) and religious scholars lined up with local radio stations to raise awareness as well as address misconceptions among parents and communities.

“Better safe than sorry” is the message relayed by pediatricians and religious scholars through FM radios in Karachi during the National Immunization Days.

“Radio is a powerful medium as it reaches out to millions of people daily, especially those parents who are travelling to and from their homes to their workplaces and often tune into the live radio telecasts in their cars or on their mobile phones.

“We have decided to contribute to this national as well as humanitarian cause by engaging local FM radio stations and hold live shows in support of polio vaccination campaigns,” said the secretary general of PPA, Sindh Dr Khalid Shafi after doing a one-hour live show on third day of the campaign on FM 103 radio station.

Dr Shafi is a busy pediatrician who works at a local hospital and also manages the affairs of the PPA—an organization representing thousands of doctors across the province. “it is unfortunate that some of the parents in Karachi are influenced by some unfounded rumors and misconceptions that has affected their ability to make the right decision on behalf of their children’s health and futre.  PPA has chalked out a plan to send its representatives to local FM radio stations and use its social media to enlighten parents about the efficacy of the vaccine in protecting their children against childhood diseases, including polio” he added.

“Usually during the show people ask questions like why so many campaigns are held, how safe is the vaccine and if our children are vaccinated at hospitals why should we still administer vaccine from the visiting polio teams”, says Dr Rahat Naz, press and publication secretary for PPA who held an hour-long live talk show on FM 105 on the second day of the campaign.

Recalling her interaction with the live callers from various parts of Karachi, Dr Rahat says she had discussed the concept of herd immunity and why it is important that every single child including those of visiting relatives and our domestic attendants need to be vaccinated.

Dr Waseem Jamal is a well-known and highly respected pediatrician in Karachi. He had to categorically tell the calling in parents during his live show at FM 100 that there is no truth in rumors at all. It is medically proven that there are no side effects of polio vaccine; parents should not put the future of their children at stake by following such misconceptions.

Maulana Umer Sadiq, a local religious scholar who has been a champion of the polio eradication efforts in Karachi reminded the callers at FM 107 during his live interaction with the listeners that Islam holds parents responsible for the well-being of their children. He quoted from the Holy Quran and sayings of the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) to call upon the parents to help visiting Sehat Muhafiz defeat this deadly virus and save their children from the scourge of polio.

“It was the first day of campaign in Karachi and people do ask about ingredients of the vaccine or about repeated campaigns but once you respond to their queries logically and in the light of Islamic teachings then they do follow our instructions,” says Maulana Umer.