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Showing posts with label Aziz Memon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aziz Memon. Show all posts

Friday, September 29, 2017

Pakistan, EU enjoy strong bonding: Ambassador


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The Ambassador Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Pakistan, Mr Jean-Francois Cautain has remarked that the EU-Pakistan Five Year Engagement Plan was a proof of strong ties between the EU and Pakistan. 

He added that the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus granted to Pakistan by the EU in 2014 had been very successful in building ties. 

He was speaking at a programme, organized by the English Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP) at the Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi, on September 26. 

The President of the ESUP, Aziz Memon, formally introduced the distinguished guest who candidly shared his views with the august gathering present on the occasion. 

“We may have several issues such as migration, human trafficking, etc, but we are working with Pakistan to tackle all that. We need to look at legal ways of migration. We also need to fight smugglers together. But after GSP Plus, Pakistan’s exports have gone up by 38 per cent. The EU provides the GSP Plus facility to 10 countries including Pakistan,” Jean-Francois Cautain observed. 

“The EU also provides Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds to Pakistan, especially for education. This is my third visit to Pakistan. Earlier, I was here working with an NGO in Peshawar. Pakistan is a country that I appreciate and love,” he added. 

“The UK is still there but a change would take place in 2019. The EU was sad to be losing UK but politicians should not be blaming the EU for their own national failures. The EU was not a project of the past that had lost its ambition. The ambition is still very much there. The EU remains the best tool to strengthen sovereignty. With the USA’s collapse of ambition, we work on climate change, human rights, building peace amid hostility, stability of borders and we are still the largest global market, and we will continue to play a key role in trade. We are capable of producing one-quarter of the world’s wealth,” he said, confirming that the EU still comprised of 28 member countries. 

“The EU works at building bridges between its nations for lasting peace. But even if you have peace you don’t take it for granted. From Syria in the Middle East to India there are refugees in search of safe harbours. During the last several months a number of countries have approached the EU, seeking cooperation and a sense of direction while the US takes a back seat in such endeavours. We have given 75 billion euros for human assistance,” Jean-Francois Cautain elaborated. 

Replying to a question about why Turkey was still not a part of the EU, the ambassador said that Turkey needed to meet EU’s standards in mode of government and fundamental values to be able to be a part of the EU. 

Answering to another question concerning the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, he considered it a tragedy, stating that the issue was close to their heart and they were looking for the solutions. 

Jean-Francois Cautain was uncertain how the EU could persuade India to talk with Pakistan to discuss Kashmir. 

“We are not sure in what capacity the EU could help in this matter. The issue of Kashmir and the human rights issues there need to be dealt with by Pakistan and India on their own,” he opined.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bill Gates appreciates Rotary Pakistan’s efforts for polio eradication

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while announcing a commitment of up to $450 million to support the eradication of polio, has appreciated the role of Pakistan’s Rotary Polio Plus Committee, headed by Aziz Memon.
Speaking to an audience of nearly 40,000 Rotary members attending the humanitarian organization’s annual convention in Atlanta, Gates recognized the good work being done in Pakistan by the Rotary Polio Plus Committee as he made a special mention of the Resource Centre developed in Nowshera. 

Besides exchanging views with the Chair of Pakistan’s Rotary Polio Plus Committee, Aziz Memon, Gates also had a one-to-one meeting with Senator Ayesha Raza, the focal person for the Prime Minister of Pakistan. 

Meanwhile Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation renewed their longstanding support for ending polio, a paralyzing, life-altering scourge on the verge of becoming the second human disease ever to be eliminated. Rotary committed to raise $50 million per year over the next three years, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Gates Foundation. 

This expanded agreement will translate into $450 million for polio eradication activities, including immunization and surveillance over the next three years. This critical funding helps ensure countries around the world remain polio-free and that polio is ended in the remaining three endemic countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.


“In 2016, fewer children were paralyzed by polio than ever before, thanks to the dedication of Rotary members and our partners. The paralysis of even one child by a preventable disease is unacceptable, and I'm proud to see our members redoubling their commitment to ensure we reach every single child with the polio vaccine,” John Germ, President, Rotary International, observed. 

In a partnership spanning a decade, Rotary and the Gates Foundation, along with the other Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, have led the effort to end polio worldwide. 

This funding extension reaffirms a commitment established at the 2013 Rotary Convention in Lisbon, Portugal, when the Gates Foundation pledged to match Rotary contributions two-to-one, up to $35 million per year through 2018. Rotary, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, has donated more than $1.6 billion to polio eradication. 

“The vision of eradicating polio began with Rotary, and its support of that effort has been unwavering for more than 35 years. Rotary’s commitment to raise $150 million over the next three years to end polio forever is a testament to the compassion, generosity, and kindness of more than a million Rotarians around the world,” Gates stated. 

The announcement came on the heels of the news that world governments and other donors have pledged to contribute US$1.2 billion total to the GPEI for polio eradication efforts. The government funding, also announce at the Rotary Convention, will substantially help to close the US$1.5 billion funding gap, allowing partners to immunize 450 million children every year and support rigorous disease surveillance in both endemic and at-risk polio-free countries. 

While the government funding announced made considerable headway in the fight to end polio, continued support from donors remains vital to achieve a polio-free world. The global eradication of polio has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985. 

Through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership that includes Rotary, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year at the start of the initiative to just 37 cases in 2016. 

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteers dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ambassador revisits Belgium and beginning of Great War


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The role of Belgium before and during the World War-I was highlighted by the Belgian Ambassador, Peter Claes during an exhaustive discourse at a get-together of the English Speaking Union of Pakistan, held the Beach Luxury Hotel on December 4. 

The function was chaired by the ESUP’s President, Aziz Memon, who, in his welcome address earlier, spoke about growing Pakistan-Belgium relationship. 

The Belgian Ambassador's topic of the talk was "Belgium and the beginning of the great war" during which he dwelt at length about his nation's role at the beginning, during and after the war. Marking the centenary of the First World War, Ambassador Peter Claes recalled the history of Belgium and how it became a country. 

In his discourse, he recalled when European leaders gathered in Vienna in 1815 to redraw the map of their region and thereby the Southern Catholic Netherlands and Northern Protestant Netherlands were united to form the Kingdom of Netherlands with two capitals, one in Amsterdam and the other in Brussels. 

However, this union, he stated, lasted only for 15 years after the Belgians living in the kingdom revolted and seceded in 1830. After it became independent, the Belgians offered to Leopold to become their king which he accepted and the decision to do so, Ambassador Claes opined, had far-reaching implications since Leopold was related to the royal family of England, firstly as the son-in-law of King George IV and then as a maternal uncle of Queen Victoria. 

It ensured two things-one the Great Britain recognized and supported the new country and the other Great Britain became the guarantor of its neutrality, which was one of the pre-requisites of European leaders in order to recognize the new country. 

Ambassador Claes said Belgium invested more in industry and neglected its military aspect. Nevertheless, Belgium did safeguard its cities by erecting forts, perhaps foreseeing the developing militarist intentions of neighboring countries like France, Germany and Russia. Continuing, the Ambassador said that in essence First World War was a Balkan war. Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia. Russia had mobilized its forces against Austria-Hungary. 

Germany was supporting Austria-Hungary. Germany faced a terrible choice because it had to fend off two enemies: France and Russia. France was particularly hostile to Austria-Hungary and Germany. The hostility between France and Germany dated back to the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.” 

“Germany promised us all kinds of help even going to the extent of promising us territorial compensation from France. We were given only 12 hours to decide. Everyone from the king to the Prime Minister to the parliament rejected the ultimatum. This automatically led to war and on Aug 4, 1914 the Germans entered Belgium and Liege was the first Belgian city that Germany attacked.” 

The Ambassador said the battle lasted for seven days, which is a considerable period of time, since our policy of neutrality meant that our military strength was negligible and yet we defended ourselves which was a no mean thing especially against the enormous German forces who used heavy artillery and destroyed forts in the city. 

According to Ambassador Claes, Belgium tried to organize as best as they could, but because of their policy of neutrality, they did not have a tradition of defence. Germany didn’t expect resistance from Belgians In fact in the Battle of the Silver Helmets the Belgian cavalry defeated the German troops. 

The Germans kept advancing through Belgium and torched several towns and killing many defenceless civilians. Giving the example of the Battle of Ypres, he said the town was completely ruined by the Germans during the Great War. Speaking about Belgium's stance of neutrality in the Great War, he said during the first days of the war, Belgium maintained its neutrality. Officially it was never part of the alliance. 

"We controlled our own forces.” But this policy was challenged again in 1940 when Germany invaded Belgium without warning. This is why his country lost faith in this policy and invested in the multilateralism and hence it was one of the founder members of Nato, United Nations and European Union. 

While concluding, Ambassador Claes became emotional when he recounted the services rendered by the soldiers of the subcontinent who had participated in the First World War. 

“Nearly one-third of people of this soil that had nothing to do with the war, came in cold, misery and mud, away from their beloved to fight and defend our freedom and our homeland. The first Muslim to be awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery was given to a private named Khudadad Khan," he recalled. 

On the occasion President ESUP, Aziz Memon, presented the ESUP plaque to Ambassador Peter Claes. Secretary General, Majyd Aziz, Senior Vice President, Abdul Kader Jaffer, Senior Vice President Byram D Avari, were also present on the occasion.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Around 5,000 students to appear in SSUET Admission Test


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
 
An estimated 5,000 applicants, seeking admission in various engineering disciplines at the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, will appear in the admission test to be held at Expo Center on September 28.
 
This year over 5,000 applications were received by the university until September 24, which was the last date for the submission of applications,  showing a substantial increase in the number of admission seekers. Last year 4,300 students had appeared in the SSUET entrance test which was also held at the centrally-located Expo Centre.
 
The highest number of applications to be received for admission this year were in the civil and electrical engineering disciplines.
 
Meanwhile arrangements were in the offing for the test for which  a couple of spacious halls have been booked at the Expo Center to accommodate the record number of applicants to appear in the test.
 
The two-hour test will start at 10 am and the applicants have been advised to reach the test centre an hour before the scheduled time.
 
The university also has made seating arrangements for parents accompanying the female students appearing in the test.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Australian High Commissioner addresses ESUP gathering in Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Australian High Commissioner in Pakistan, Peter Heyward, impressed everyone with his thorough understanding of the game of cricket during his keynote address to theEnglish Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP) at the Hotel Beach Luxury, Karachi, on June 21.

The topic of his speech was ‘Cricket in Australia’ and he dwelled at length at the various aspects of the gentleman’s game. 

He enlightened the audience by sharing the historic perspectives in a candid manner and the intensity was sustained throughout half an hour as he combined his own thoughts while recalling the incidents having brought out about the most significant changes.

The High Commissioner touched upon the bitter memories of the early 20th century when six of the leading cricketers of his country, including the legendary Victor Trumper, had revolted against the board. He also recalled the crisis of the 1970s when a man called Kerry Packer had taken on the cricket establishment of Australia.

The ESUP function, for a change, began with a presentation as Ehsan Qureshi, a veteran sports journalist and a prolific author, was invited at the stage to present copies of his World Cup books to the Australian High Commissioner who was appreciative of the gesture.

Aziz Memon, President, ESUP, while introducing the Australian High Commissioner prior to his speech, described Peter Heyward as an articulate foreign service officer, having brought laurels to his country during his long and illustrious diplomatic career which took him to different corners of the world.

In his welcome address, Majyd Aziz, ESUP, talked about some of the memorable cricket matches having taken place between Pakistan and Australia over the years. He particularly recalled the Melbourne Test of 1979 when Sarfraz Nawaz had turned the tables around by dismissing seven batsmen for only one run.

The man who had been in the thick of things during that match, having watched that magnificent spell from behind the stumps, Wasim Bari, was also present in the front row of the audience and the former Pakistan captain was duly recognized by the ESUP President at the start of the proceedings.

The interactive session turned out to be an interesting one and theAustralian High Commissioner tried to do justice with every query posed to him. 

He pointed out that those desiring to travel to Australia for the Cricket World Cup 2015 will have to submit the normal visa forms and their cases will processed in routine manner.

Abdul Kader Jaffer, Senior Vice President, ESUP, and a former Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, presented the vote of thanks in the typically lively style of his.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rotary to highlight global efforts on World Polio Day 2013

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Rotary International will highlight progress in the global effort to end polio on the occasion of the annual World Polio Day to be observed on October 24.

“World Polio Day 2013 provides a golden opportunity for Rotary and its partners to build public support for the historic final push now underway to wipe out this disabling viral disease once and for all,” Rotary International’s Pakistan PolioPlus Chair, Aziz Memon, remarked.

“In Chicago, where the humanitarian service organization was founded in 1905, Rotary and Northwestern University’s Center for Global Health will convene an international panel of experts to discuss the progress of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which Rotary co-launched in 1988. The event, World Polio Day: Making History, will be streamed live to a global online audience at endpolionow.org from Northwestern University’s John Hughes Auditorium, 303 E. Superior St., Chicago, beginning at 5:30 pm. CST on October 24,” he disclosed.

The confirmed panelists included Dr Bruce Aylward, the world’s leading expert on polio eradication and assistant director-general for polio, emergencies and country collaboration at the World Health Organization; Dr. Robert Murphy, director of Northwestern University’s Center for Global Health; and U.S. Paralympian Dennis Ogbe, a polio survivor and ambassador for the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life program. An executive with Brown-Forman Co, Ogbe is originally from Nigeria, one of only three countries where the wild poliovirus has never been stopped.

Also invited is Emmy award-winning actress Archie Panjabi, one of Rotary’s End Polio Now celebrity ambassadors. In 2012, Panjabi helped Rotary volunteers immunize children in India, where she spent part of her childhood. Once considered the nation facing the most serious challenges to eradication, India was removed from the polio-endemic list in January 2012. If Panjabi is unable to attend in person, the Chicago program will include exclusive video of her work in India.

“This year, World Polio Day fundraisers will have greater impact due to the new fundraising campaign, End Polio Now: Make History Today, recently launched by Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation will match two for one every new dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication up to US$35 million per year through 2018,” Aziz Memon revealed.

“World Polio Day provides an important and timely opportunity for us to let the world know that every dollar contributed to Rotary for polio eradication will work three times as hard,” Dr Robert S. Scott, MD, Chair of Rotary’s PolioPlus programme, observed in his message.

“Rotary invites everyone, private citizens, businesses, non-profits, to join us in this historic effort. Only one other human disease (smallpox) has ever been beaten. Now is our best chance ever to make polio the second,” he stressed.

Rotary clubs in every region of the world have planned an array of activities on or leading up to World Polio Day.

Rotary clubs in India planned a nationwide series of outdoor illuminations carrying Rotary’s “End Polio Now” message on World Polio Day. In January, India will celebrate three years of no new polio cases, a huge milestone for a country once considered to harbor the most serious challenges to eradication.

Scores of Rotary clubs worldwide working with local schools to organize Purple Clothes Days encouraged each student to wear a purple item of clothing and make a small donation to Rotary’s polio eradication program.

The concept began with Rotary clubs in England, inspired by the purple dye that health workers in polio-affected countries place on children’s pinky fingers to show they have received the oral polio vaccine. Similarly, many Rotary clubs in England, Kenya and elsewhere are selling fabric “purple crocus” lapel pins in support of polio eradication.

In Kenya, Rotary clubs will work with partnering agencies and the national government to use World Polio Day to launch the next round of national polio immunization activities in early November, a campaign deemed critical due to the recent outbreak of imported cases throughout the Horn of Africa.

Rotary clubs in Lagos, Nigeria, will be partnering with the Cycology Riding Club to do a six-hour relay bicycle ride to promote World Polio Day and the national immunization rounds set for early November. The event is reportedly Nigeria’s first-ever bike-a-thon.

In partnership with UNICEF, Rotary clubs in Pakistan, another polio-endemic country, on World Polio Day will begin distributing 5,000 copies of a 16-page “speaking book” that health workers and parents can use to teach young children the importance of polio vaccinations and basic hygiene. The audio version of the text is in the regional languages of Urdu and Pashto.

In Spain and Portugal, Rotary clubs are generating public support for polio eradication via the crowd-speaking platform, Thunderclap, in a campaign that concludes on World Polio Day.

Historically, Rotary had helped launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the polio eradication effort.

Overall, the annual number of new polio cases has plummeted by more than 99 percent since the 1980s, when polio infected about 350,000 children a year. Only 223 new cases were recorded for all of 2012. More than two billion children have been immunized in 122 countries, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 deaths. Polio today remains endemic in only three countries, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, although “imported” cases in previously polio-free areas, such as the Horn of Africa, will continue to occur until the virus is finally stopped in the endemic countries.

Rotary is a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary’s 1.2 million members hail from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

Robert Scott, Aziz Memon urge for reinstatement of Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Dr Robert S Scott Chair, International Polio Plus, Rotary International and Aziz Memon, Chair, Pakistan Polio Plus, Rotary International, have urged the government to take steps to re-establish the essential functions that were previously undertaken by the Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell in the interest of the children of the country.

In a letter addressed to the Caretaker Prime Minister, Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, with a copy sent to the Prime Minister-in waiting, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, the Rotary officials have regretted the recent closure of the Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring Cell, merged with the old system, which is incapable of delivering routine immunization or running the Polio Eradication Initiative, due to serious administrative issues.

The senior Rotary officials have drawn the attention of the concerned authorities towards the particular deficiencies of the EPI were highlighted by the Federal Ombudsman in his recent ‘Report on Measles Outbreak in Pakistan.’

‘The decision to close the Monitoring Cell was done in haste, without giving any thought to future action or implementation. The programme will stall key initiatives taken by the polio cell to completely stop transmission of polio from Pakistan by the end of 2013,” they said in a jointly signed letter sent to the Office of the Prime Ministers.

“Eradication of Polio is a global priority.  Pakistan, being one of the only three polio endemic countries of the world, is under intense pressure from the international community to take drastic steps for eradication of this disease and actively contribute in the Global Eradication of Polio,” Scott and Memon stated.

“The Government of Pakistan in collaboration with partner agencies approved the National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) for Polio Eradication with responsibilities of implementation to the District Administration,” they added.

“To achieve this objective, the Government of Pakistan had in 2011, established a Cell known as the Prime Minister's Polio Monitoring & Coordination Cell, to monitor and coordinate efforts being made at the National and International level on Polio Eradication. In addition the PM monitoring cell also assisted the National Task Force on Polio Eradication headed by the Prime Minister,” the Rotary officials recalled.

“The Cell comprised of Public Health Specialists and Experts in Polio Eradication. It has achieved major success, and witnessed tremendous progress in this area, which has been recognised and appreciated by the International Health Forums like the World Health Assembly and the Independent Monitoring Board based in London. Due to untiring efforts, polio cases have dropped from 198 in 2011 to 58 cases in 2012 and 9 cases in 2013,” they concluded.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Rotary observes World Polio Day with unprecedented enthusiasm


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan’s Rotary Polio Plus Committee, headed by Aziz Memon, observed the World Polio Day 2012 on October 24 with unprecedented enthusiasm throughout the country.

The various Rotary Clubs, with the collaboration of the Polio Plus Committee, organized numerous programmes all over Pakistan while a lot of people around the globe participated in the World’s Biggest Commercial, promoting the international effort to eradicate the devastating disease. 

The innovative, interactive online initiative provided everyone a chance to join Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Gates, Jackie Chan, Angelique Kidjo, and other world figures and celebrities having already joined in Rotary’s This Close campaign in support of polio eradication.

The participants uploaded photos of themselves to Rotary’s polio eradication website, endpolionow.org, edited into the constantly expanding promotional spot. They were sent an email with a direct link to their image and comment within the commercial.

Rotary International also released End Polio Now, an eclectic album of songs performed by its celebrity polio eradication ambassadors from the music industry. The album is available for download on iTunes, and soon as a CD from shop.rotary.org, with all proceeds from sales going to PolioPlus.  

The Rotary Club of Karachi Creek and the Rotary Club of Karachi Kolachi joined hands to put up a Polio Awareness Stall on World Polio Day, on the ground floor of the Park Towers Mall, located in main Clifton.

Visited by hundreds of people on a daily basis, more so these days, due to the forthcoming festival of Eid, the EPN banners on pillars caught many people's attention. A volunteer doctor has been made available at the stall screened for blood sugar free-of-charge, attracting adults.

Pakistan’s National Chair, Polio Plus Committee, Aziz Memon, led by example which was followed by District Governor-Elect Dr Pir Ebrahim Shah, Media Coordinator for Karachi, PP Jamsheed Zahidi, PP Tahira Khan, PP Irfan Qureshi, Rotaractors who volunteered to man the stall and distribute IEC and social mobilization material to children and adults.
Dr Nadia Farhan Essa from RCK Creek was instrumental in organizing the polio camp and stall which became a centre of attraction at Park Towers.

Similar stalls were set up in many other bustling shopping malls of Karachi and other cities of Pakistan. A three-page newspaper supplement was also brought out by the Polio Plus Committee to mark the occasion.

“Coinciding with World Polio Day, Rotary is ramping up its advocacy work in the 200 countries and regions where Rotary clubs exist to encourage every national government to commit to help meet a $700 million funding shortfall for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative through 2013,”  Pakistan’s National Chair, Polio Plus Committee, Aziz Memon, disclosed.

“Although new polio cases are at an all-time low, there were fewer than 180 worldwide in 2012 as of October 16 the funding gap has already curtailed scheduled immunization activities in polio-affected countries. If eradication fails and polio rebounds, up to 200,000 children per year could be paralyzed,” he warned.

‘The governments need to step up and honour their commitments to polio eradication if we are to achieve our goal of a polio-free world. We are at a true tipping point, with success never closer than it is right now. We must seize the advantage by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge to the world’s children,” the Chair of the Rotary Foundation, Wilfrid J. Wilkinson, remarked in his message on the World Polio Day 2012.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Aziz Memon highlights cross-border lessons in saving lives


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

(Pakistan News and Features Services)

Aziz Memon, Chairman of Rotary International’s PolioPlus Committee, has expressed the eagerness to learn from India’s success in eradicating polio from Pakistan, one of three nations still registering indigenous transmission of wild poliovirus.

“India have not recorded a single case of polio since January 13, 2011, a fact acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO). Their success in the eradication of polio, serves as a beacon of hope for the nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria who are still struggling to control polio,” Aziz Memon, having served as the Governor of Rotary International’s District 3270 covering Afghanistan and Pakistan, remarked in an interview with the PNFS in Karachi on September 25.

“Pakistan could imbibe invaluable lessons from its neighbour about eradicating polio. This is vitally important because Pakistan had experienced the world’s largest nationwide outbreak of polio in 2011 with 198 reported cases,” he added.

“As of June 8, 2012, Pakistan had reported 21 cases of wild poliovirus, compared to 52 cases during the same period in 2011. Insurgency and security-related dangers don’t allow our national polio programme to consistently reach children in certain areas of FATA. Also the sub-optimal management of the programme at the sub-district level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan has seen inconsistent polio campaigns, with many children being missed during immunisation drives,” the Rotary official regretted.

‘In order to overcome the challenges, Rotary International has undertaken vigorous efforts in promoting the Polio Eradication Campaign in Pakistan, just as it did in India. Along with its partners, UNICEF and WHO, Rotary’s PolioPlus Committee in Pakistan has been overseeing eradication efforts. Pakistan has emulated India by roping in celebrity ambassadors to advance the cause of polio eradication and the most popular cricketer of the country, Shahid Afridi, is a part of the Polio Eradication Campaign,” Aziz Memon noted.

“We have also adopted best-practice modules from India like the identification of high-risk blocks, roping in religious leaders from different sects in door-to-door campaigns, conducting health camps to augment abysmal healthcare services, and producing social mobilisation materials for Information, Education and Communication on Polio. During NIDs (National Immunisation Days) and SNIDs (Sub-National Immunisation Days), Rotary Clubs in Pakistan work alongside government health workers during immunisation drives and also collaborate with multinational companies to boost awareness levels,” he added.

“The Rotary Clubs in Pakistan have been more proactive and persist with polio camps, walks and workshops that drive awareness and eradication efforts. Pakistan PolioPlus Committee has installed billboards in high-risk districts for national campaigns, with some billboards being permanent. As per the government’s request, an additional 45,000 vaccine carriers have been made to ensure quality of activities don’t suffer,” he disclosed.

“The Pakistani authorities are firmly committed to implementing eradication efforts to ensure polio spikes within its borders are curbed. To facilitate the success of its anti-polio initiatives, we sought India’s support in this drive. Apart from the exchange of delegations between the two nations, Pakistan’s serious intent is also evident from the fact that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is personally involved in the campaign against polio,” Aziz Memon explained. 

“Concerted and sustained efforts on the part of all stakeholders, public and private entities, partnerships and the public, for polio to be finally eradicated from Pakistan are essential because a failure to do so will leave open the perennial threat of wild poliovirus making a surreptitious comeback in other geographies too; that is something Pakistan, and the world, can ill afford at this crucial juncture,” he warned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rotary’s ‘End Polio Now’ campaign illuminates Frere Hall

By Rtn Mohammad Nazakat Ali

The historic building of Frere Hall in Karachi was illuminated with great fanfare on February 17 as a part of the awareness drive launched by Rotary International’s Pakistan National Polio Plus Committee.

The Committee’s National Chair, Aziz Memon, informed the dignitaries and the media corps present on the occasion that the illumination ceremony was a part of an annual tradition in which community-based Rotary clubs illuminate landmarks and iconic structures around the world with the humanitarian group’s pledge to eradicate polio, a crippling childhood disease.

Besides the historic Frere Hall in Karachi, another famous building in Pakistan, the distinctly modern WAPDA House at Lahore will glow brightly with Rotary’s illuminated message ’End Polio Now’ on February 23.

The lighting ceremony in neighboring India is perhaps the most symbolic of the progress made by Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. In January, India, until recently an epicenter of the crippling disease, reached a historic milestone by marking a full year without recording a single new polio case.

Other illumination sites this year include the City Government Building in Taipei, Taiwan (Feb. 23-25); Melbourne’s Federation Square, one of southern Australia’s top tourist draws (Feb. 25-27); Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Tokyo’s fifth tallest building (Feb. 20); and Pal├ício Garibaldi, a neo-classical architectural treasure in Curitiba, Brazil (Feb. 23).

Significantly, India’s success sends a message of hope across the border to Pakistan, one of the last remaining polio-endemic countries (the others are Nigeria and Afghanistan).

In 2011 Pakistan reported 198 polio cases; Afghanistan 80; Nigeria 57 and India 1. Worldwide, fewer than 650 polio cases have been confirmed for 2011, less than half the 1,352 infections reported in 2010.
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Overall, the annual number of polio cases has plummeted by more than 99 percent since the initiative was launched in 1988, when polio infected about 350,000 children a year. More than two billion children have been immunized in 122 countries, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 deaths.

“These global illuminations carry Rotary’s pledge to end polio—saying to the world that we will fight this crippling disease to the end,” says Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee, a native of India. “But we are not there yet. Rotary and our partners will continue to immunize children until our goal of a polio-free world is achieved. And we must remain vigilant against a resurgence of this terrible disease.”

Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than US$1 billion to polio eradication, including nearly $190,000 raised by the 3,120 members of Pakistan’s 150 Rotary clubs. Rotary International has provided almost $73 million in grants for polio eradication activities in Pakistan.

Todate, the government of Pakistan has provided nearly $50 million in domestic resources. President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have made polio eradication a national priority by launching the National Emergency Action Plan in 2011 and an Augmented Action Plan for 2012, aimed at increasing the capacity and effectiveness of the polio immunization programme with Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali having been appointed as the Focal Person of the Prime Minister’s Task Force Committee.

In January, Rotary leaders announced Rotary clubs worldwide had raised more than $200 million in response to a $355 million challenge grant from the Gates Foundation, which in turn contributed an additional $50 million in recognition of Rotary’s commitment. All of the resulting $605 million will be spent in support of immunization activities in Pakistan and other polio-affected countries.

“Rotary continues to be the heart-and-soul of polio eradication,” Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates wrote in his annual letter issued in January.

The other spearheading partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rotary is a global humanitarian organization with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary members are men and women who are business, professional and community leaders with a shared commitment to make the world a better place through humanitarian service. Rotary’s top priority is the global eradication of polio.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rotary facilitates Pakistani boy’s heart surgery in Bangalore

Mohammad Sufiyan
Rotary International’s District 3271, comprising the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, has facilitated the treatment and subsequent heart surgery of a local boy, Mohammad Sufiyan, in the Indian town of Bangalore .

Mr Aziz Memon, National Chair, Rotary’s Polio Plus Committee and a former District Governor, announced here on Tuesday that Sufiyan, a nine-year-old boy, will be leaving for Bangalore with his parents on September 23 where he will be operated upon 10 or 12 days later.

“Master Sufiyan was under the treatment of Dr Nawaz Lashari at Karachi ’s National Medical Centre for the past four months but the stage had come when he needed to undergo surgery. We got in touch with the Manipal Hospital in Bangalore for further advice where the ailing boy will be taken now,” Mr Aziz Memon disclosed.

“We are confident that Master Sufiyan and his parents will be returning happily to our country upon successful surgery. Let all of us pray for the little boy,” he concluded.