The latest celebrity to join the campaign to fight polio in Pakistan is all rounder Shahid Afridi.
Afridi joined representatives of the national polio eradication initiative on Saturday at a ceremony titled 'Unveiling the Polio Celebrity Champion' organized by the Prime Minister's Monitoring and Coordination Cell for Polio Eradication, Rotary International, UNICEF and WHO to announce his commitment to help ensure that no child is left unvaccinated and no child is paralyzed by polio in Pakistan again.
AdvertisementKnown for his aggressive batting style, the former Pakistan international captain now hopes to use that same all or nothing approach in the fight against polio.
"It is an honour for me to donate my time to help to rid Pakistan of polio. I can deliver the message that reaching every child, every time with the polio vaccine is not only necessary, but it is our duty," The News International quoted Afridi, as saying.
Afridi hails from the Khyber Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and is from a Pashtun family. In 2011, Pashtuns accounted for nearly 77 per cent of all polio cases, but the group makes up only 15 per cent of the population.
"We couldn't be more delighted to have Afridi join the polio eradication team in Pakistan," said the Focal Point for the Prime Minister's Monitoring Cell, Mme Shahnaz Wazir Ali.
"He is a true Pakistani hero and will help us deliver important messages to some of the hardest to reach areas of the country," he added.
In the first six months of 2012, Pakistan had 22 confirmed polio cases in 13 districts - down from 58 in 24 districts during the same period in 2011.