Islamabad, January 27, 2024 – A high-level delegation from Rotary International visiting Pakistan met with Prime Minister Anwaarul Kakar on Friday and the leadership of the Pakistan Polio Programme on Saturday, highlighting continued support for Pakistan, especially its polio emergency programme.
The delegation, which included Thomas Gump, Aide to Rotary International President-elect Stephanie Urchick, Rotary International Director Faiz Kidwai and Trustee Rotary Foundation/ National Chair PolioPlus Committee Aziz Memon, visited the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication on Saturday and reaffirmed support for polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.
“Polio eradication is a top priority for Rotary, and we are very impressed with the incredible commitment to this cause that we have seen in Pakistan,” Thomas Gump said in a meeting with the leadership of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme, which included NEOC Coordinator Dr Shahzad Baig and representatives of polio partners WHO, UNICEF, BMGF and CDC.
Aziz Memon, Trustee Rotary Foundation/National Chair PolioPlus Committee, said: “Rotary is proud to support Pakistan in this cause and we look forward to the day when we will proudly stand with the country as it declares itself polio-free.”
NEOC Coordinator Dr Shahzad Baig lauded Rotary International for its spirit of service and for pioneering polio eradication efforts in 1985 to make the dream of a polio-free world a reality.
“If no one had dared to dream this big, millions of people would still be living with polio-caused disability today,” he said, adding, “Rotary has been a valued friend of the Pakistan Polio Programme – from generous financial contribution to community engagement to infrastructure development for health centres and for frontline workers, you have stood by us as a beacon of hope and generosity.”
The delegation was given a presentation on Polio Programme operations, priorities and challenges and a tour of the Polio Control Room at the NEOC. The guests also visited the Regional Reference Lab for Polio Eradication at the National Institute of Health.
Rotary International is the founding member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which was launched in 1988 at a time when there were more than 350,000 polio cases reported globally every year. Today, due to the efforts of Rotary, its partners and world governments, polio cases have reduced by more than 99.9 percent. The organization has contributed over USD 2.7 billion to polio eradication efforts worldwide, including over USD400 million to Pakistan.
Note for the Editor:
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. 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 immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free, except for the two endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
For further information, please contact:
Ms Amina Sarwar, Communications Officer, NEOC