Coca-Cola Pakistan has been selected by Rotary International for the "Rotary Responsible Business Partner" award, to be given on Rotary Day at the United Nations in New York in early November, in recognition of its support to Rotary's 'End Polio Now' campaign in Pakistan. Coca-Cola Pakistan is one of only two companies shortlisted for this honour out of 20 nominations from all around the world, and a company from Pakistan has secured this award for the first time ever.
Rotary Day at the United Nations is an annual, high-profile event where more than 1,500 Rotary members, UN officials, NGO leaders and guests gather at the UN Headquarters to learn about and discuss humanitarian challenges, while recognising and celebrating the positive impact Rotary, partner companies like Coca-Cola Pakistan and others are making in our world today. This year's event will focus on Economic and Community Development with the title, 'Responsible Business, Resilient Societies'.
The End Polio Now campaign involves awareness and advocacy campaigns to improve literacy levels regarding polio in underprivileged communities, and improving environmental conditions through treatment of open sewage systems, which are a major breeding ground of viruses causing polio and other diseases. To this end, Coca-Cola Pakistan is supporting the installation of solar-powered water filtration plants in 7 areas across the country, providing the residents of the community with safe and clean drinking water and improving the health status of children and adults. The first such plant was installed in the Malir area of Karachi and studies have shown that there is a reduction in water borne diseases by 56 percent already.
Speaking about the award, the General Manager of Coca-Cola Pakistan, Rizwan U. Khan said, "This award is a great honour, and a testament of Coca-Cola's philosophy that a business is only as strong as the community it operates in.This year, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of polio cases reported over last year. It has been a gargantuan effort for which many organisations, individuals, volunteers and polio health camp workers, national and international, have worked tirelessly to support the government of Pakistan."
"The world is 99 percent polio free. We are 'this close' to ending polio and need the world leaders to support the 'final push' now while the goal has never been closer, or face the potential consequences of a new polio pandemic that could disable hundreds of thousand children within a decade," said Aziz Memon, Rotary's National Polio Plus Committee Chair for Pakistan. "We are very optimistic that the challenges will not deter us and soon Pakistan will become polio free."
As Pakistan is one of only three (Afghanistan and Nigeria are the two) polio endemic countries left in the world with an incidence of polio, eradication of the disease in Pakistan would have an immense and far-reaching impact on ending the occurrence of a serious disease from the planet forever.