He was speaking at the Joint Afghanistan-Pakistan Eminent Ulama Conference for Supporting Polio Eradication at Sheraton Oman Hotel, on Monday.
Dr Mandhari said, “In the past, around 1,000 children around the world were infected by the disease every day. But with the development of a safe vaccine that was used to vaccinate every child worldwide, we have succeeded in bringing polio to the brink of eradication. A 99.9 per cent decline in polio cases has already been achieved since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988. Over 1.5mn child deaths have been averted through the administration of Vitamin A during polio vaccination campaign. We have witnessed only nine polio cases so far this year - three in Afghanistan and six in Pakistan.”
He added, “The ministers of health of 22 countries of the region expressed concern about the persistence of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, we gathered here to explore how your joint voices and guidance can help the Muslim nations end polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and thereby the world.”
The two-day conference which began on Sunday, was inaugurated by H E Dr Darwish bin Saif al Muharbi, Undersecretary for Administrative and Financial Affairs in the Ministry of Health, in the presence of Sheikh Dr Kahlan bin Nabhan al Kharousi, Assistant Grand Mufti of the sultanate, along with Dr Mandhari.
The conference was organised by the Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication from Al Azhar Al Sharif, Dar Al-Ifta Al-Masreya, Darul Uloom Deoband, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank. It touched on the current situation and challenges of polio eradication, the composition of oral poliovirus vaccines, the root causes behind refusals, the vaccine and other.
H E Dr Muharbi welcomed in his speech the religious scholars and practitioners participating in the conference. He stressed the importance of health in development and growth of the communities in the world.
Sheikh Dr Kharousi affirmed the importance accorded by Islam to healthcare to raise individuals and maintain the Muslim generations in terms of healthy and strong physical body.
Sessions of conference addressed polio eradication, its current status and challenges, role of scholars in reaching children in inaccessible areas and overcoming obstacles of vaccinations.