President Asif Ali Zardari has reiterated the commitment to make Pakistan completely free from crippling polio disease.
Launching the three day Polio Vaccination Campaign in Islamabad on Monday‚ he said polio vaccination campaign launched by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1994 has come a long way in reducing the polio cases.
He however regretted that Polio still prevails in the country despite the fact that Pakistan was the first country to take notice of it in the region. He said India has become polio free and there is no reason for Pakistan to achieve the goal for elimination of polio.
Referring to the steps taken by the government for elimination of polio‚ President Zardari said that we aim that no child lives in the fear of being crippled for life.
He said we need to produce polio vaccines within the country. Pakistan and China have signed an MOU on cooperation in manufacturing of vaccines. He hoped this cooperation will be extended to manufacture of polio vaccines in Pakistan for nationwide anti polio campaigns.
The president said the government is mindful of the challenges to the polio campaign. He said some extremists have opposed polio eradication campaigns. But in the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam and Quaid-e-Awam we can not allow extremists to stop us from carrying forward the welfare agenda. He said with democracy taking roots‚ these forces are bound to fail.
Appreciating the oversight of provincial government on polio campaigns‚ the President said we are reaching out to more and more children. Coverage of Polio campaigns has reached ninety five percent.
He urged all the concerned authorities to make every effort and use all resources to ensure that every child is reached during this and every subsequent campaigns.
Speaking on the occasion‚ Chairperson of President's Oversight Committee for Polio Azra Fazal said that polio control centers have been set up at the district level to ensure better monitoring of polio eradication campaigns.
She said Islamic development Bank has recently 227 million rupees for the polio campaigns for the next three years.
This assistance will be in addition to the one given by World Bank and Japan.
On the occasion‚ the President also administered polio drops to some children.