Ulema Workshop- Peshawar 12 December, 2015

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Rotary’s Polio Ulema Committee Chair Haji Muhammed Hanif Tayyab, National Chair, Pakistan Polio Plus Committee Aziz Memon, District Governor (3272) Sajid Pervaiz Bhatti and CDG Rauf Rohaila organized an Ulema Workshop to increase intervention at grass roots level through religious scholars and leaders in madrasas, educational institutions and mosques at the Nishter Hall, Peshawar on 12 December,2015.

The Workshop began with reciting Tilawat  by Dr. Shams President Polio Plus committee KPK. The workshop proceeding was facilitated by Jamal Uddin Ahmed Siddiqui. The workshop was attended by Aiden O’Leary Polio Chief UNICEF, Dr.Illaud Din WHO, Akbar Khan, Coordinator, EOC Khyberpakhtunkhawa, Dr. Imtiaz Shah, Technical Consultant BMGF EOC KPK, Rotarians from Peshawar and renowned religious leaders from different sects; Hazrat Mulana Mufti Fazal Jamil Ameer (Jamat Ahle Sunnat), Hammad ullah Jan (Vice Ameer Jamate Islami), Allama Abid Shakiry (Head of Jamia Alama Arif Hussaini Shaheed), Molana Iqbal Shah Hayderi (Ameer JUI), Sahibzada Molana Obaidullah from North Waziristan,  Hazrat Molana M. ilyas  (Jammat Ahle Sunnat), and  one hundred twenty Ulemas (religious leaders) from Peshawar and surrounding areas.

District Governor Sajid Pervaiz Bhatti (RD-3272) welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of Ulema to play their role in the current scenario and stressed confidence building with local communities to convey the messages of polio vaccination. He said there is a need that all religious leaders at grass root level should communicate messages of responsible parenthood

Aiden O’ Leary spoke on confidence building among local Pashtun communities with the involvement of local ulemas. He said Ulemas have played very important role and bring down number of refusals. He said, the role of religious leaders is very significant in Pashtun speaking areas. However, he stressed religious leaders to facilitate cover missed children.  He highlighted communication strategy to reach and utilize religious leaders to refusals/ missed children and communities in strengthening the demand for routine immunization.

Akbar Khan, Coordinator Polio Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Khyberpakhtunkhawa briefed participants about the role and responsibilities of the EOC. He highlighted accelerated activities and significant achievements after establishment of the EOC.  He said EOC has provided one window operational facility to eradicate polio. He gave brief on better and effective NIDs during last two months.

Hazrat Mulana Mufti Fazal Jamil Ameer Jamat Ahle Sunnat, a renowned religious scholar gave brief presentation on Mother & Child Health in the prospective of religion. He quoted a verse from the Quran for responsible parenthood and went on to say it is the responsibility of all parents to get their children vaccinated. He emphasized parents should be involved in vaccination process.

Allama Abid Shakiry -Head of Jamia Alama Arif Hussaini Shaheed  quoted another Quranic verse regarding responsible parenthood. He focused on the working of polio workers and said there is a need to take more care of this cadre who are actually responsible for polio vaccination. He stressed that payments of polio workers should be made on time to increase level of motivation. He suggested that student of Madrasa should be involved in anti polio campaigns to get maximum access into the communities especially refusals.

Sahibzada Molana Obaidullah from North Waziristan discussed current polio situation in North Waziristan. He said the situation has changed after the war against terrorist and now people are demanding routine vaccination. He pointed out, service delivery is still weak in FATA areas and Pak army is providing primary health care services and routine immunization where possible. There is a need to accelerate routine immunization in other parts of North Waziristan he said.

National Chair, Aziz Memon said, the coming four months are very crucial, this is “last Low Transmission Season” and we have to utilize this time period with full zeal, commitment and hard work. He stressed on coverage of missed children. He elaborated Rotary contribution and said recently Rotary has provided four re furbished containers for Permanent Transit Posts installed at Kohat, Dargai, Haripur and D I Khan, supply of cold chain equipment and  establishment of new Resource Centers to intensified polio eradication activities.

Haji Hanif Tayyab, Chair Polio Plus Ulema Committee welcomed and thanked the religious scholars for their time to attend the workshop and their commitment to eradicate polio from the country. He highlighted the role of local Ulema in spreading of polio eradication messages at grass root level. He also gave reference of “Islamabad Declaration”. He quoted, that Islam has stressed, that the health of our child is the prime responsibility of all parents. Therefore as per Islamic rules it becomes the responsibility of all to provide full vaccination to their children to save them from diseases and ill health.

An interactive session with all participants was also carried out. Questions from the participants were answered. Ulema took part in suggesting communication strategies to reach children. Following are the main points there were highlighted:

  • Media should be involved to disseminate messages from Ulema.
  • Distribution of  Fatwas to local mosques
  • Training of religious volunteer to disseminate messages
  • Madarsa students should be involved in anti polio campaigns
  • Promote Focus Group discussion among Ulema and other influential
  • Involve polio survivals in anti polio drives.

At the end, Haji Hanif Tayyab offered special prayers (DUA) for the slain children of Army Public School Peshawar who were killed by militant attack last year.

CDG Rauf Rohaila in his vote of thanks pledged his support toward polio eradication and thanked the participants for attending the workshop.


Asher Ali

Project Manager

Pakistan National Polio Plus Committee

Rotary International