Lights on

Lights-on---End-Polio-NowLIGHTS ON

The Mohatta Palace Museum, an iconic structure and landmark in Karachi, Pakistan, was brilliantly illuminated on October 24 to mark World Polio Day.

Senior Rotarians, government leaders, politicians and members of WHO and UNICEF, were present at the ceremony at this beautiful building.

This solemn occasion was a reiteration of Rotary’s commitment to fight polio and promise the people of ­Pakistan that Rotarians are working relentlessly to eradicate this devastating disease and save their children. Rotary has established seven polio resource centres across Pakistan to build community trust in areas that come under the high risk category for polio.

These centres, along with local Rotary clubs, organise health camps to immunise children against polio, measles and other diseases, and also provide aid for other ailments. Rotarians have also worked with Islamic scholars to form the Pakistan Ulema PolioPlus Committee to ensure polio immunisation in remote and difficult areas.

About the challenges in fighting polio in Pakistan, PDG Aziz Memon, National Chair, Pakistan PolioPlus Committee says, “Insurgency and lack of accessibility to children where the war is going on are the biggest problems. But the biggest challenge is getting the Government’s ownership in accomplishing this task — to make Pakistan polio-free.”

The Mohatta Palace was built in 1927 by a Marwari businessman, Shivratan Chandraratan Mohatta of Rajasthan, to serve as his summer home. Hence this palace has striking similarities to the stunning architecture of Rajasthan. Today this beautiful palace functions as a Government museum devoted to arts.

Every year on this day, Rotary clubs across the world look for opportunities to spread community ­awareness about polio and the urgent need to prevent it. They also strengthen their pledge to eradicate this crippling disease, which thanks to the massive Rotary crusade to end polio, has limited this disease to just three countries–Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. That is, a 99 percent reduction in polio cases across the world.

Several unique activities marked the day this year. Rotary created a Guinness Record for the ‘World’s Biggest Commercial’ with over 1,15,000 supporters — from school students to celebrities to armed force personnel—in 172 countries, adding their photos to help end polio. Iconic buildings in various cities were illuminated to remind the world about Rotary’s fight to end the disease and inspire people to maintain constant vigil.

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