Rotary International and UNICEF Pakistan, partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 1988, launched the Speaking Book titled ‘A Story of Health’ to mark World Polio Day.
The ceremony for the launch was held on October 25th in the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, the building renowned for its aesthetics and beauty.
A Story of Health or Sehat ki Kahani is an educational tool for community workers to engage with women, children and fathers to tell them of better sanitation and hygiene and ensure people know the importance of vaccines, in the prevention of diseases.
The Chief Guest at the ceremony was Senior Minister for Education Sindh Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro.
The Master of Ceremonies Zubair Anwar Bawany – UNICEF called upon PP Owais Kohari – RCK Karsaz to begin the evening with Tilawat.
The District Governor Dr. Pir Syed Ibrahim Shah gave a regional perspective of having no polio case in Balochistan since last year with three from Sindh. He requested Rotarians for renewed efforts to eradicate polio from Pakistan just as they have been instrumental in polio eradication worldwide, taking the lead from Manila in the Philippines, which later expanded to a global initiative.
Dr. Andro Shilakadze – Chief Field Office, UNICEF Sindh, thanked Rotary for this collaboration on the book. He said UNICEF is proud to be part of this innovative initiative. He was pleased the book launch involved school children. His offered UNICEF’s continued support to eradicate polio and educate Pakistan children. He commended Pakistanis for their resilience and commitment to education.
The National Chair, Polio Plus Committee Aziz Memon talked about the global collaboration amongst partners for the development and production of the speaking book. He mentioned The Speaking Books is pioneered by a Rotarian in South Carolina, USA. The book has been sponsored by Rotary International, designed in South Africa, illustrations and voice over and storyline were completed in Pakistan and finally printed in China. He said a lot of thought and creative effort has gone into producing these speaking books to reach out to Pushtun speaking communities in KPK, FATA and Karachi. The National Chair also pointed out that literacy is the first step towards polio eradication. He mentioned, Sri Lanka wiped out polio 20 years ago, because of 100% literacy level; similarly countries with high literacy have managed to eradicate polio fairly soon.
Senior Minister for Education Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro lauded Rotary and UNICEF’s initiative. He wanted Rotary to provide books to the government secondary schools of Pakistan. He said education is the key to polio eradication and they must jointly work toward this goal. He also talked about Benazir Bhutto, spearheading the polio campaigns during her first tenure. Similarly he mentioned Aseefa Bhutto as the Polio Ambassador in Pakistan and her contribution to the program.
Followed by the speeches, the National Chair officially launched the Speaking Book and presented to the Chief Guest, along with Dr. Altaf Bosan – National Coordinator/Technical Focal Person, Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring & Coordination Cell, Islamabad and PDGs. A few pages from A Story of Health were read out by Dr. Bosan to the children, who sat huddled around him in the garden, listening attentively.
A life size book on display was signed by all the participants at the ceremony. Refreshments were served to the guests and children. Children from the local school were given polio mobilization items in the form of pencils, badges and plastic mugs.
From the PolioPlus Pakistan Newsletter
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