An Ulema Workshop has been organized by Dawa academy, UNICEF, WHO to increase interventions at grass roots level through religious scholars and leaders in Karachi.
The workshop was organized in Dawa Academy which is religious institution in the town. Coordinator, Ulema Polio Plus Committee PP Molvi Abdul Qadir facilitated the arrangements of the workshop.
The National Chair, Pakistan Polio Plus Committee (PNPPC) Aziz Memon thanked to Haji Hanif Tayyab Chair Ulema Committee PNPPC for facilitating the Ulema workshop in high risk Union Council of GADAP Town. He said the number of polio cases declined from 350,000 to 08 only this year due to the efforts of all polio partners and community engagement with Ulemas of high risk areas of the country.
GADAP Town is the largest town of Karachi metropolis. Its boundary meets Gulberg and Gulshan towns in East and Malir town in west. The Union Council UC 4 is classified as ‘Polio Reservoir’ from where two recent cases were reported during the current year.
In view of the sensitivity of the GADAP Town and particularly UC-4, Rotary’s Polio Ulema Committee Chair Haji Muhammed Hanif Tayyab, National Chair, Pakistan Polio Plus Committee Aziz Memon attended this workshop.
Molvi Abdul Qadir welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of Ulema to play their role in the current scenario and stressed confidence building with local communities to convey the messages of polio vaccination. He said, “ Ulema played an important role in awareness and covering of refusals which results significant declined in polio cases in the country during the current year.”
Dr. Sarfaraz Khan is from FATA WHO and specially deputed in Karachi to create groups of Ulemas in Gadap Town to cover refusals. He shared his experiences to work with refusal communities in Gadap. He said still there are misconception regarding polio vaccination and the only way out is to contact elite of the tribes who live in FATA or Afghanistan to convince refusals of Gadap area. He added that, “I am not an Islamic Scholar but I learned lot of Quranic verses and instructions given in holy Quran about responsible parenthood from Ulemas”. He thanked Ulemas to educate him to initiate dialogues with tribal refusals of Gadap town.
Dr. Asad Ullah Khan spoke on coverage of HRMP at entry points of Karachi. He said seasonal migration is pre dominate in Karachi and once the migrants come they settled permanently in out skirts of Karachi and become threat for spreading polio virus. He stressed to be more vigilant to cover these population segments.
Dr. Aziz Ur Rehman gave introduction of the Academy. He said full knowledge about polio and vaccination is given to religious students of the academy. He added that these religious students disseminate the messages for polio vaccination in their respective areas. He stressed to involve media to for mass communication and awareness.
Molana Usman Noori (Ex MNA), Molana Naseem Siddiqui, Qari Abdul Hameed Sultani spoke on role and responsibilities of religious scholars to convey immunization messages to communities through local religious leaders, awoke sense of responsible parenthood. The Ulema quoted various references from holly Quran. They agreed to provide details of polio vaccine contents to those who have little knowledge about the vaccine to remove ambiguities and misconception regarding polio vaccine. They added, Fatwas (Declaration) from religious scholars are already in place and may use for reference to those who have any arguments to resolve issues under the light of religion (Islam).
Haji Hanif Tayyab, Chair Polio Plus Ulema Committee welcomed the religious scholars and thanked them for their time to attend the event. He quoted the reference of “Islamabad Declaration” and said that all Ulemas in principle and as per the Islamic point of view, that polio vaccination does not harm children, it is safe and approved by the Organization of Islamic Council (OIC). He stressed that awareness and motivation is not only need of poor communities but it is equally needed for intellectual segment of civil societies. He informed that he has motivated Vice Chancellors of Universities in Karachi and they are agreed to give education on polio issues to their students as they are our future messenger for polio eradication.
A question answer session was carried out in the end. The Ulemas of Gadap asked many questions which were answered by Dr. Sarfaraz khan and other religious scholars.
District Governor Ovais Kohari concluded the session. He said that role of Ulema especially in polio high risk areas is extremely important and we achieved this much success due to their active involvement to cover refusals. He thanked Dawa Academy to assist Ulemas to disseminate polio messages. He also thanked to Haji Hanif Tayyab Chair, Ulema Polio Plus Committee and National Chair Aziz Memon for conducting the workshop in one of the polio high risk area of Gadap town Karachi.