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Pakistani team learning success of polio drive in Bihar

Patna, Feb 24, 2013 (PTI): 19:40 IST
An Indian child receives polio vaccination drops from a medical volunteer during an immunisation drive outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar on February 24, 2013. The number of polio cases worldwide reached a record low in 2012, giving experts confidence that the disease can finally be eradicated, according to presentations made November 2012 at a major US conference. AFP PHOTO
Impressed with success of anti-polio campaign in Bihar, a four-member team from Pakistan is here on the invitation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take tips about the programme particularly in minority Muslim dominated areas.

On the start of five-day polio eradication drive in the state beginning today, the Pakistani team visited Samanpura in Raza Bazar area here to see for themselves the success of the programme among Muslim community.

The team from neighbouring country interacted with people in Samanpura, District Governor of Rotary International L B Singh said.

The head of the Pakistani team and past district president of Rotary club there, Shahab Balki told PTI that he had a meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at Karachi during his week-long visit to that country in November last year when he had invited them to see success of polio campaign in the state.

Besides, Balki, three doctors - Hanif Khilji, Farha Issa and Pradeep Kumar form part of the team from the neighbouring country.

Balki said on reaching Patna yesterday the team had an interaction with state government officials and those from WHO to know about details of the polio drive.
"We got good experience," Balki said.

Hanif Khilji said that they would be in the state till February 28 and will visit different districts including Gaya, Motihari and Muzaffarpur to have a first-hand view of anti-polio campaign in Bihar.

Working in collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of the US, Bihar through intensive polio drive has stamped out the disease. India has also been removed from the list of endemic polio countries last year.

Pakistan along with Nigeria and Afghanistan still figure in the list. Balki said though the number of polio cases went down in Pakistan to 47 in 2012 from 212 in 2011, much still needs to be done.

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