Published On:30 June 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Pakistan to follow UP's formula for polio eradication

By Shailvee Sharda

Lucknow: Though India is quite close to being declared a polio-free country, the threat of the disease looms large as the next door neighbor Pakistan is still reeling with it. In fact the nature of problems being faced by vaccinators and health officials in Pakistan is more or less the same. And so, Muslim clerics from Uttar Pradesh, who played a crucial role in pulse polio awareness in the state, are now all set to help Pakistan combat the challenge.

Under the aegis of Muslim Ulama Committee, the clerics have offered to visit Pakistan and share the Indian experience to help their counterparts in Pakistan convince the people to let the volunteers administer anti polio vaccine. The rotary international has planned the entire thing. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of Rotary International's Polio Plus Committee held last month. The decisions became loud and clear with the social sector organization formally offering help to Pakistan. Stating that health officials in Pakistan are keen to follow UP's formula for polio eradication, member of Rotary's national committee for anti-polio advocacy and social mobilization, Ajay Saxena said, "after clearance from Bob Scott, chairman Rotary International, our counterparts in Pakistan have decided to adopt UP's formula for polio eradication through community mobilization."

He informed that community mobilization effort undertaken in UP was unique. "A committee was formed at the state, divisional and district level to spread the message. The committee had representation from all sects — such as Deoband, Bareilly, Shia and Sunni — of the Muslim community. The composition of the committee gave it a universal colour which left no room for any further argument. The strong structure helped the committee combat individual challenges at micro level," said Saxena. He added that till now, effort by volunteers in Pakistan was fragmented.

Rotarians believe that the helping hand from UP can do wonders for Pakistan which has lost several polio volunteers to resistance by people after the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Citing Aziz Menon, a senior Rotary functionary in Pakistan, Saxena said, "People governed by the Taliban believe that a house to house polio volunteer informed the American spies about the location of Laden which led to his killing. Then, some of the residents also believe that volunteers are working at the behest of the American government to control their population. Considering the mistrust of the people, the experience from Uttar Pradesh can help the implementing agency win over the confidence of the people."

Regarding the experience in UP, member of the Muslim Ulama Committee, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said, "Except for the laden story, polio volunteers in UP got a chance to hear every thing else. The fear of population stabilization and boys turning impotent were the most common ones. We actually went to the fields and gave public speech to convince the people. We administered the polio drops from our own hands to prove that there was nothing wrong in our deed." On why can't clerics in Pakistan undertake the same effort, the Maulana said, "the fear of losing life has not let them take the initiative. Also, many of the members in the Ulama Committee have an international appeal."

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on June 30, 2013. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on June 30, 2013. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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