Thursday, 24 October 2019, Islamabad: The world-famous cricketer Wasim Akram is announced as the Polio Ambassador today as part of celebration of World Polio Day.

The legendary cricketer Wasim Akram and Coordinator National Emergency Operations Centre, signed an agreement today in presence of Dr. Zafar Mirza, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for the Ministry of NHSRC, Aida Girma, Country Representative of UNICEF Pakistan, and Dr. Palitha Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan.

Under this agreement, Wasim Akram provide support to the Polio programme to raise awareness on the importance of polio vaccine at various public events. Wasim Akram will also conduct events with polio workers to encourage them for their contribution to the fight against polio.

“Protecting children of Pakistan from the crippling disease of polio remains the top priority of the government,” said Dr. Zafar Mirza while welcoming Wasim Akram as Polio Ambassador. “I urge all scholars, intellectuals, opinion leaders and influential people to play their role in voicing their support for children of Pakistan. I am confident, together with our more than 260,000 heroes of Polio Eradication programme, soon we will achieve goal of polio-free Pakistan.”

Wasim Akram, the Polio Ambassador, expressed his commitment to work closely with government and partners to eradicate polio. “Pakistan and Afghanistan are only two countries in the world struggling to halt the circulation and transmission of wild poliovirus. All children of Pakistan deserve a life free from vaccine preventable diseases This is a national issue. We need to commit ourselves to ensure vaccination of all children under the age of five. All children of Pakistan deserve a life free from vaccine preventable diseases,” he said.

The World Polio Day is annually observed on 24 October to commemorate fight against polio and pay tribute to the efforts of polio workers. This year World Polio Day focuses on “Heroes of Polio Eradication” and “Progress - Past and Present.” These themes recognize the contributions of the polio workers, innovators and donors who fund and support efforts to reach every child with the polio vaccine as well as amplify stories that demonstrate how the programme overcomes challenges to advance progress against polio.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are two countries in the world which are still struggling to halt the circulation and transmission of wild poliovirus. Despite various efforts, presence of poliovirus in the environment of the country continues to threaten the future of children.

The present government has given high priority to eradicate poliovirus and is committed to make Pakistan polio-free. Provinces have organized various events to commemorate the day.

Note to Editors:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunizations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free.