2.5m Pakistani children receive polio vaccination

Filed on June 23, 2014

About 2.5 million children in Pakistan were administered polio vaccination in 21 areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and tribal regions last week.

The initiative comes in the second week of a mass campaign launched by the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP), in implementation of the directives of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and as part of the initiative of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

UAE PAP said nearly 5,000 teams worked intensively between 7-19 June as part of the campaign using health centres at local communities and mobile units to reach remote areas.

The three-month polio vaccination campaign, which targets more than 3.6 million children in 24 areas in Pakistan, is being carried out in cooperation with Pakistan’s army, the country’s Ministry of Health, representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Pakistan’s regional governments.

On April 24, 2013, one day before the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi, General Shaikh Mohammed pledged a donation of Dh440 million to support global efforts to eradicate polio by 2018.

Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, Director of the UAE PAP, described the polio vaccination campaign as “an exceptional success” that further recognises the UAE’s humanitarian efforts. “The campaign is the latest addition to the UAE leadership’s humanitarian initiatives to protect children worldwide from diseases and epidemics.”

Al Ghafli noted that the ongoing polio campaign overcame the geographical challenges posed by the targeted areas, which had led to the failure of previous polio campaigns. These areas, he said, accounted for 95 per cent of Pakistan’s polio cases in the past six months.

Sound planning and well-organised execution contributed to the success of the campaign, which received wide response from the locals.

The locals of the targeted Pakistani areas expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of Shaikh Khalifa and General Shaikh Mohammed.

Aysha Hassan, who is in charge of women’s health department in Peshawar, said, “The mass vaccination campaign is effective because it an initiative of the UAE. It has drawn an unprecedented response (from the locals here).”

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