Professor Zulfia Khan’s contribution in polio eradication acknowledged by UN
Aligarh: The Chief of Polio Team in the Health Section, Programme Division, United Nations Childrenâ€™s Fund, Mr Peter Crowley has recently acknowledged former Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College faculty member with the Department of Community Medicine, Professor Zulfia Khan and Aligarh Muslim University in the fight for eradication of polio disease in India.
In a letter to the Aligarh Muslim University, Mr Crowley has sent appreciation for Prof Zulfiaâ€™s role as the Principal Investigator of the Polio Eradication Project of Aligarh Muslim University with UNICEF in fighting the polio disease.
Giving regards to Prof Zulfia and AMU, Prof Crowley wrote: â€œThe voice of powerful advocates such as Prof Zulfia is critical in convincing world leaders to follow through on their financial and political commitments to eradicate polio once and for all. Let us be the generations to make sure no more children are ever paralyzed by this preventable disease.â€
Acknowledging Prof Zulfiaâ€™s role in convincing diverse mindsets for the eradication of the disease, Mr Crowley stated: â€œTo reach these resistant pockets in Muslim community and to reduce the resistance, especially in more resistant western Uttar Pradesh including Aligarh, the underserved strategy was introduced which involved religious leaders, health personnel, opinion makers and other influential persons. They were instrumental in removing the misconception regarding polio drops and thereby to reduce the resistance in the Muslim community.â€
He pointed out that it was it was after AMUâ€™s role that the high priests during the Friday Prayer sermons started rectifying rumors associated with the polio drops and vaccinations.
â€œMedical interns visited the resistant families and carried out social mobilization and succeeded to convince them to get their children vaccinated against polio,â€ said Mr Crowley.
He added that the role of AMU was envisaged as providing advocacy and support to bridge the confidence gap between the resistant underserved community and District Administration.
As a faculty member at AMUâ€™s Medical College, Prof Zulfia has built a tremendous network of students, fellow academics and global citizens in the fight against polio.
Prof Zulfia with her team members, which included UNICEF members and AMU medical interns were participating in the polio eradication programme in hard-to- reach and insecure areas since 1995.
She started working on the programme after UNICEF approached AMU and the latter giving commitment to work towards tackling the resistance in the underserved areas in partnership with UNICEF, Rotary International and District Administration.