UN chief calls on world leaders to join hands to fight polio

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United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres administers polio drops to a child at a private school in Lahore on Feb. 18, 2020. (PID)
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Updated 18 February 2020

UN chief calls on world leaders to join hands to fight polio

  • Guterres expresses solidarity with workers who lost their lives in the line of duty
  • Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only countries where polio remains endemic

LAHORE: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for joint global efforts to eradicate polio, as he participated in a campaign against the disease in Lahore on Tuesday.
“Together, we can eliminate polio from across the world, and I appeal to all the world leaders to join hands to fight out polio,” Guterres told reporters at a private school in Lahore, which hosted the event.




United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres poses for a photograph with school children in Lahore on Feb. 18, 2020. (PID)

The UN chief was accompanied by Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmeen Rashed. 
“He appreciated the federal and provincial governments’ efforts to curb this menace,” Rashed told Arab News.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only countries where polio remains endemic.




United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers an address as part of a polio eradication drive at a school in Lahore on Feb. 18, 2020. (PID)

Guterres said that eradicating polio from the world was the UN’s priority and praised health workers devoted to the cause. 
“I express solidarity with the workers who laid their lives in the line of duty,” the UN chief said, paying homage to the health officials who were targeted and killed.
A nationwide anti-polio campaign started on Monday, aiming to vaccinate 39.6 million children under the age of five. Over 265,000 health workers are involved in the effort, 95,000 in Punjab alone.
“It is the second day of the campaign and we are committed to make it a success. Nearly 95,000 polio workers are on the field, going to every house where a child below the age of five years resides,” Hanif Pitafi, adviser to the chief minister of Punjab, told Arab News.
The Punjab government has issued directives to district deputy commissioners to monitor the process at various locations.
“We will leave no stone unturned to save the future of our children ... We will achieve our target,” Pitafi added.


Official: 7 Pakistani kids killed when school roof collapses

Updated 1 min 22 sec ago

Official: 7 Pakistani kids killed when school roof collapses

  • All the children who lost their lives in the incidents were receiving Islamic education at the madrassa
  • Rains in Pakistan often damage homes and other structures due to poor construction quality

PESHAWAR: The roof of a school collapsed under heavy rain in Pakistan’s northwest near Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing seven children and injuring 13 others, police said.
Azam Khan, a local police official, said the incident took place in the district of North Waziristan. He said the children were between the ages of 4 and 14.
“Unfortunately, all the children who were martyred or injured in this incident were receiving Islamic education at the madrassa,” Khan said.
Rescue workers recovered the bodies and transported injured students to the area’s main hospital, he said.
Rains in Pakistan often damage homes and other structures because of poor construction quality and many homes are made of mud brick.
North Waziristan served as the headquarters of Pakistan’s Taliban and foreign militants until 2017 after security forces in a series of operations dismantled their network and killed or arrested scores of them.
The region has dozens of schools where children receive Islamic education.