Karachi, February 17, 2018: The Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication (EOC) in Sindh and DOW Medical University organized a seminar for 1st and 2nd year medical students at the Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi to sensitize students on polio eradication and summon their support in raising awareness about vaccination.

The seminar was attended by more than 300 students and 20 faculty members who were given a briefing on the status of polio program and in Pakistan and how medical students can play their role in making the country polio free.

Associate Professor Dow Medical University, Dr. Khalid Shafi made a presentation on epidemiology of polio. Speaking about the headway made in polio eradication, he said that “we are at an extremely important juncture in history where polio eradication is no longer a distant dream, it is in touching distance and if we all play our part, we will be able to make Pakistan and the world polio free very soon”.

Senior Advisor to the EOC, Mr. Keith Feldon took the students through the journey of the polio eradication initiative and highlighted that the world had more than 350,000 polio cases in more than 120 countries in 1988 and thanks to the multiple efforts especially of the frontline health workers, the disease victims stand reduced to 22 cases in 2 countries in 2017. “I have no doubt that Pakistan is well capable of eradicating the virus and not only ensuring a safer future for the children of the country but also making history”.

Media Officer EOC Sindh, Abid Hasan spoke to the students about the role they can play to raise awareness on polio. The suggestions included student mobilization within universities, awareness raising through traditional and social media platforms, sensitizing friends and family members on vaccination and participating in campus radio shows as well as volunteering at hospital kiosks during campaigns.  “If each of you sensitize 10 families within your friends and family circles, you will be reaching 3,000 families. You are the future generations of doctors and are the top 3 influencers in the communities, with your help there is no doubt we can reach zero cases very soon”.

The students were given an email address (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to volunteer for social mobilization at the kiosks set up at private hospitals during campaign days. Emails have already started pouring in. These students will be provided a certificate of experience by the provincial EOC to acknowledge their services in a national cause.