A virtual meeting on zoom for the Polio Orientation & Planning Workshop was held on Tuesday, 16th 2020, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm. The workshop was chaired by The Rotary Foundation Trustee (2020 -24) and National Chair, PolioPlus Committee Aziz Memon in collaboration with District Governor Elect Dr. Farhan Essa (3271). The meeting was hosted by the Pakistan National PolioPlus Committee for all incoming Rotary Club Presidents, Polio Club Chairs and Assistant Governors.
The workshop is geared to train and orient Rotarians to participate in polio campaigns, hold advocacy sessions in the community and academic institutions and work closely with partners in improving Routine Immunization; monitoring & surveillance in campaigns and weed out missed children, as well as work with teams on refusals.
PDG Haji Iftikhar – End Polio Now Zonal Coordinator recited the Tilawat at the opening session
NPPC Chair Aziz Memon welcomed all the participants and thanked them for their active participation. He introduced District Governor Elect Dr. Farhan Essa.
DG Rais Ahmed – TRF Trustee condoled with DG Rais for the sad demise of his brother. DG thanked the trustee and all the participants of the workshop. He appreciated the role of Rotary clubs and emphasized that every rotary club must have a PolioPlus Committee Chair to initiative polio activities in their respected clubs.
DGE Dr. Farhan Essa thanked TRF Trustee Aziz Memon for his work on the polio program and facilitating the Government to take the process forward. However, misconceptions remain regarding the polio vaccine until now. We have got a lot challenges to overcome but with the help of Rotarians we shall soon overcome this crippling disease by 2022. He also mentioned that due to COVID-19 the campaigns have been stopped but we will resume our work with utmost dedication and support from UNICEF/WHO and the government.
Dr. Farhan spoke of making a plan with the upcoming DGE and DGN under the leadership of Trustee Aziz Memon for polio eradication. We are very adamant to make Pakistan Polio Free. All Presidents and Assistant Governors are fully motivated.
DGN Dr. Aftab Imam thanked all the Rotarians and assured that he will work closely with Rotary leaders and the incoming District Governor to support and eradicate polio from Pakistan.
DGN2 Tehzeeb Kazmi said, we have received a commitment grant from Rotarians of Denmark to spend on PPE equipment, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, gloves etc for 38 hospitals in Sindh to support patients of Covid-19.
Dr. Asalif Demissie - WHO TL Sindh presented an update on polio status and spoke on the four GPEI pillars; he also thanked Rotary and EOC Sindh. Dr. Asalif appreciated all the efforts of Rotarians throughout Pakistan. His presentation is attached for your reference.
Abid Hasan Communication Specialist (Media) PEI UNICEF, Sindh – Thanked the Trustee in playing the leadership role and said we have several communications challenges that surfaced in 2019. However, this was not an isolated incident as similar ones have also come to light in 2017 & 2018.
Dr. M. Akram Sultan - EPI Director Sindh – He gave a presentation on Routine Immunization and current status of Polio in Sindh. He also spoke on 5 new IRD mobile vans inaugurated to improve the status of Routine Immunization in Super High Risk UCs of Karachi.
Rashid Razzak - EOC Balochistan: He initiated his talk by appreciating the role of Rotary in Polio Eradication and the support Rotary has provided to Government and EOC Balochistan (social mobilization, PTPs, ILRs). He gave a verbal presentation on Role of Government Balochistan in polio eradication.
Haji Hanif Tayyab- Chair Ulema PolioPlus Committee – he spoke on the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the whole world; he also emphasized that people of Pakistan must adhere to the SOPs and social distancing the government has highlighted from time to time in the electronic and print media.
He thanked the trustee for conducting the virtual workshop and connecting all partners and Rotarians on one platform. He thanked the DG, DGE, DGN and DGND for their efforts and requested more such meetings to be conducted in the future. This gives an opportunity to express their views and contribute in making the Polio program a success.
NPPC Chair Aziz Memon spoke on the deficit of funds collected this year by Rotary Foundation due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. He said the TRF has a target of US$ 50 million every year to enable the BMGF to match the 1:2 challenge contributions. This year we have just collected US$ 41 million and are short by US$ 9 million. The contributions are global and I encourage all Rotarians to fulfill this target by the end of this year, by June 30, 2020 to avail the matching grant from BMGF. This means that if we raise US$ 50 million the Gates Foundation will contribute US$100 million to TRF for polio eradication.
NPPC Chair Aziz Memon also mentioned Dr. Farhan Essa has accepted to become an Arch Klump Society (AKS) member. We need funds more than anything right now because of COVID and to get the job done and eradicate polio.
NPPC Chair Aziz Memon said that Technical Advisory Meeting (TAG) was held on 15th June 2020. Technical experts from all over the world joined this meeting and they have concluded as to how we are going to take the polio program forward in 2020, and how we are going to tackle the wild & derived polio cases.
He mentioned that we have to resume our polio activities/campaigns from July or the wild polio cases might increase. We have got the approval of Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Jawed Bajwa to start the polio campaigns from July onwards. We have full support of Government and PolioPlus Partners.
During this challenging phase of COVID -19 pandemic, we cannot completely stop the polio campaigns and therefore following strict SOPs we will resume our polio campaigns. Polio Front line workers will be provided PPE suits, gloves and masks so that they do not put their life at risk while participating in this noble cause.
He narrated the TAG recommendations and approval to proceed with field activities, strictly adhering to all SOPs.
The TAG suggested following schedule for SIAs in the current year;
NPPC Chair emphasized to all, to utilize this time to prepare the groundwork for holding workshops, health camps, community meetings etc.
In the end DGE Dr. Farhan Essa said He will have a meeting after the COVID-19 crises and mentioned that he has made changes in the Rotary District Teams. He said every club chair will be assisted by a co-chair from a Rotaract club. He motivated all the Rotarians to work closely to eradicate Polio.
Closing remarks by PDG Irfan Qureshi – He thanked Trustee Aziz Memon UNICEF/WHO, DG, DGE, DGN, DGND, all Rotarians and the PolioPlus Committee team for organizing a successful virtual workshop.
He also mentioned that the presentation by UNICEF/WHO highlighted how Rotarians can participate in Polio eradication. These points should be translated in Urdu and circulated among the Rotarians.
Over 100 participants participated in the Virtual Polio Orientation & Planning Workshop. Special thanks by TRF Trustee Aziz Memon to Rotarians who joined the workshop from other countries.