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.
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.
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.