Saturday, November 04, 2006

Polio eradication among Muslims

Polio eradication among Muslims : role of religious leaders | By Dr. Zubair Meenai

The Global Polio Eradication Programme has been in operation for a considerable period of time. From thousands of cases each year, the numbers have come down to a few hundred each year, with the virus contained to only a few places in India, Pakistan, Nigeria and a few other countries. All this has been possible largely due to a global concerted effort on the part of global agencies and national governments along with active support and cooperation of leaders of various communities. In India, the spread of the virus has been localised to a few areas in western Uttar Pradesh, and is unfortunately overwhelmingly afflicting more Muslim children than those of other communities.

Jamia Millia Islamia, a Central University with a considerable Muslim base has been cooperation with the UNICEF engaged in the eradication efforts in western Uttar Pradesh for the last 4 years. The initiative has been in operation for the last three years has just entered its fourth year. This initiative has been in operation in the districts of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat, JP Nagar, Bijnore, Moradabad, and Rampur. The university devised a multi faceted strategy: At the national level it worked towards creating an enabling environment and obtained appeals from national bodies belonging to various sects, advocating the need for Muslims to remove misconceptions and appealed to them to immunise their children to provide them a better future. At the local level the bock level extenders of the Jamia Millia Islamia organized more than a hundred sensitization and planning meetings with Madrasah teachers, Imams, Religious Leaders, Unani Practitioners, Teachers, Lawyers, etc.

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