ISLAMABAD - The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will continue its support for polio eradication programme of Pakistan unconditionally to win the fight against polio and after its success the support will be directed towards malaria programme of the country. IDB President Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali, who is on visit to Pakistan to attend International Ulema Conference on Polio Eradication, spoke to a select group of mediapersons.
He said the IDB had been financing for Pakistan's polio eradication programme with $ 227 million till 2017 without any interest. The financing is free for Pakistan as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) supports the Government of Pakistan in paying the cost of the financing. Besides, the Bank cooperates with United Nations Children's Fund, World Health organisation and Islamic Fiqh Academy, Saudi Arabia to mobilise all kinds of support. On a question, he said: 'The disease has been eradicated around the world and we have to win this fight in the three remaining polio endemic countries too.' He said after fighting this battle the bank plans to support malaria programme of the country too.
As Pakistan is the founding member of IDB, it is one of the largest beneficiaries of the IDB programmes with financing of $ 8.5 billion for various programmes including Chashma Coal Power Plan and Neelam Jehlam Power Plant, he informed.
Dr Ahmad Ali added that the Ulama Conference was an excellent platform for the Islamic scholars, Muslim healthcare professionals and policy makers to come together and find a common ground on how to eradicate polio from the remaining polio endemic countries.
He said a message must be conveyed from this platform that 'it is a must to vaccinate every child and we commit a sin when don't protect the child from the virus'.
Regarding the travel restrictions, he said: 'We are not happy with the decision but they would be removed if Pakistan controls the cases.' He said that he had no doubt that the government was committed to combat the disease hoping that 'the campaign to get rid of polio would succeed and Pakistan wouldbe polio free soon.'