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.