Saira urges Ulema to support polio eradication efforts

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar has said that polio eradication campaign can be made result oriented with the support and guidance of Ulema.

Addressing the first consultation meeting of National Islamic Advisory group (NIAG) here at International Islamic University (IIU) on Saturday, the minister said Ulema’s role is very important in making public opinion and steering awareness campaign in masses.

Saira Afzal Tarar said that provision of health facilities is top most priority of present government. The Government is focusing protection of citizens from lethal diseases and solution of various health problems including eradication of polio.

She said that in order to make Pakistan a developed country we must emerge as a healthy nation. She underscored for administration of polio vaccine drops to children for becoming a healthy nations.

She said, “It is my belief that to safeguard the health of our children is not only our social responsibility but a moral and religious obligation as well. It is in this context that Islamic Scholars can play a leading role in educating the parents to full fill their obligations to ensure a healthy and happy life of their children.”

She said that some religious circles consider polio eradication campaign as dubious thing and they never accepted campaign of polio eradication and urged NIAG members to eliminate concerns of these circles.

Focal Person of Prime Minister’s Polio Eradication Cell Ayesha Raza Farooq in her address elaborated various steps of the present government for the eradication of polio. She said that polio Eradication programme woks under Prime Minister administrative control and in provinces this is under Chief Minister’s control. It is pertinent to mention here that objectives of the meeting of National Islamic Advisory group (NIAG) were to discuss how to approach the Ulema and Khatibs who consider polio eradication campaign as dubious thing.

The meeting deliberated how to eliminate their concerns and ensure them that polio vaccine is not harmful for health and no element of harram in its ingredient. A joint statement will be prepared for the meeting of International advisory group’s meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to bring together the religious leaders and scientists, health experts, and doctors to assess the current challenges faced by the government. The purpose of the meeting was also to inform scholars about the challenges of polio eradication in Pakistan, particularly with respect of mis-information in the name of religion, this has resulted fears in certain communities.

The meeting also discussed guidance on strategies that can effectively overcome current situation and political challenges to polio eradication in Pakistan. To seek direction how to convince those Ulema who have been refusing and rejection polio vaccines consistently. In depth discussion was focused on specific issues to eradication and immunization of polio from Central, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, Gaddap town of Karachi and Quetta.