Muscat, The Joint Afghanistan-Pakistan Eminent Ulama Conference for Supporting Polio Eradication commenced at Sheraton Hotel today.

The conference was inaugurated by Dr. Darwish bin Saif al-Muharbi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for Administrative and Financial Affairs in the presence of Sheikh Dr. Kahlan bin Nabhan al-Kharousi, Assistant Grand Mufti of the Sultanate along with Dr. Ahmed al-Mandhari, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

The two-day conference, which is hosted by the Sultanate, represented by the Ministry of Health (MOH), is organized by the Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication from Al Azhar Al Sharif, Dar Al-Ifta Al-Masreya, Darul Uloom Deoband, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank.

The conference touches on the current situation and challenges of polio eradication, the composition of Oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV), the root causes behind refusals the vaccine and other.

Dr. Al-Muharbi welcomed in his speech the religious scholars and practitioners participating in the conference. He stressed the importance of health in development and growth of the communities in the world.

Sheikh Kahlan al-Kharousi affirmed the importance accorded by Islam to health and care to raise individuals and maintain the Muslim generations in terms of healthy and strong physical body. He highlighted the importance of community cooperation for the benefit of the human beings, communities and nations.

Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region affirmed that polio is a crippling disease that paralyzes children without the possibility of treatment. He said, “In the past, around 1000 children around the world were infected by the disease every day. But with the development of a safe vaccine that was used to vaccinate every child worldwide, we have succeeded in bringing polio to the brink of eradication. A 99.9% decline in polio cases has already been achieved since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988. Over 1.5 million child deaths have been averted through the administration of Vitamin A during polio vaccination campaign. We have witnessed only nine polio cases so far this year: three in Afghanistan and six in Pakistan”.

He also added “The ministers of health of the 22 countries of the Region expressed concern about the persistence of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, we gathered here to explore how your joint voices and guidance can help the Muslim Nation end polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and thereby the world”.

Sessions of the two-day conference address polio eradication, its current status and challenges, role of scholars in reaching children in inaccessible areas and overcoming obstacles of vaccinations.

Source: Oman News Agency

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