WHO lauds Pakistani frontline workers as 'real heroes' in polio fight

A Pakistani health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a child during a polio vaccination campaign in Karachi on May 7, 2018. (AFP/File)
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Updated 24 October 2020

WHO lauds Pakistani frontline workers as 'real heroes' in polio fight

  • 270,000 frontline workers participated in the nationwide anti-polio vaccination campaign last month
  • Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only countries where polio can be found, after Africa was declared polio-free in late August

ISLAMABAD: The World Health Organization (WHO) marked World Polio Day on Saturday by recognizing the hard work of thousands of Pakistani polio workers, as a nationwide immunization drive resumed after a months-long coronavirus hiatus.
According to Pakistan Polio Eradication Program data, 270,000 frontline workers participated in the door-to-door vaccination campaign last month after the government suspended nationwide polio efforts between April and July to focus on COVID-19 response.
"They are our real heroes in this effort, and with the provided support, they have made us proud by vaccinating millions of children during each campaign," WHO Pakistan representative Dr. Palitha Mahipala said, as quoted by local media.
He added that the WHO and its government and non-government partners are "working hard to ensure that Pakistan can be the next country on the journey to a polio-free world."
Polio is a highly infectious disease, which mainly affects children under the age of five and can cause paralysis or death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective means of protection against it.
The next polio eradication campaign will be starting on Monday, in 128 districts of the country, aiming to give polio drops to 31 million children.
Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only countries where polio can be found, after Africa was declared polio-free in late August. Pakistan has registered 79 polio cases since the start of the year.


Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s mother to be laid to rest in Lahore today

Updated 28 November 2020

Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s mother to be laid to rest in Lahore today

  • Begum Shamim Akhtar passed away in London last Sunday
  • Her elder son attended her funeral prayers in a mosque in Britain before her body was flown back to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A leading Pakistani political family has made funeral arrangements in Lahore for an elderly member who passed away in London last Sunday and whose body was brought back to Pakistan earlier today.
Begum Shamim Akhtar, whose sons Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif have spent decades in national politics, will be laid to rest after her family offers her funeral prayers on Saturday.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) founding leader and the country’s former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, prayed for the departed soul in a small congregation at a mosque in London where he currently resides after securing a medical bail and flying out of Pakistan in November 2019.
The Sharif family has been facing a slew of corruption allegations since the Panama Papers were leaked in April 2016.
The country’s top court disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in July 2017, and he was convicted by an accountability court the next year.
His younger brother, Shehbaz, and nephew, Hamza, have also been facing corruption references and were released from prison on a five-day parole to perform Begum Akhtar’s last rites.
The elder Sharif also missed his father’s funeral in 2004 since he was denied permission to return to his country from exile in Saudi Arabia by the administration of General (r) Pervez Musharraf.