Monday, June 26, 2017

Bill Gates appreciates Rotary Pakistan’s efforts for polio eradication

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while announcing a commitment of up to $450 million to support the eradication of polio, has appreciated the role of Pakistan’s Rotary Polio Plus Committee, headed by Aziz Memon.

Speaking to an audience of nearly 40,000 Rotary members attending the humanitarian organization’s annual convention in Atlanta, Gates recognized the good work being done in Pakistan by the Rotary Polio Plus Committee as he made a special mention of the Resource Centre developed in Nowshera. 

Besides exchanging views with the Chair of Pakistan’s Rotary Polio Plus Committee, Aziz Memon, Gates also had a one-to-one meeting with Senator Ayesha Raza, the focal person for the Prime Minister of Pakistan. 

Meanwhile Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation renewed their longstanding support for ending polio, a paralyzing, life-altering scourge on the verge of becoming the second human disease ever to be eliminated. Rotary committed to raise $50 million per year over the next three years, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Gates Foundation. 

This expanded agreement will translate into $450 million for polio eradication activities, including immunization and surveillance over the next three years. This critical funding helps ensure countries around the world remain polio-free and that polio is ended in the remaining three endemic countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

“In 2016, fewer children were paralyzed by polio than ever before, thanks to the dedication of Rotary members and our partners. The paralysis of even one child by a preventable disease is unacceptable, and I'm proud to see our members redoubling their commitment to ensure we reach every single child with the polio vaccine,” John Germ, President, Rotary International, observed. 

In a partnership spanning a decade, Rotary and the Gates Foundation, along with the other Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, have led the effort to end polio worldwide. 

This funding extension reaffirms a commitment established at the 2013 Rotary Convention in Lisbon, Portugal, when the Gates Foundation pledged to match Rotary contributions two-to-one, up to $35 million per year through 2018. Rotary, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, has donated more than $1.6 billion to polio eradication. 

“The vision of eradicating polio began with Rotary, and its support of that effort has been unwavering for more than 35 years. Rotary’s commitment to raise $150 million over the next three years to end polio forever is a testament to the compassion, generosity, and kindness of more than a million Rotarians around the world,” Gates stated. 

The announcement came on the heels of the news that world governments and other donors have pledged to contribute US$1.2 billion total to the GPEI for polio eradication efforts. The government funding, also announce at the Rotary Convention, will substantially help to close the US$1.5 billion funding gap, allowing partners to immunize 450 million children every year and support rigorous disease surveillance in both endemic and at-risk polio-free countries. 

While the government funding announced made considerable headway in the fight to end polio, continued support from donors remains vital to achieve a polio-free world. The global eradication of polio has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985. 

Through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership that includes Rotary, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year at the start of the initiative to just 37 cases in 2016. 

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteers dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bazm-e-Akram’s President passes away

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

An eminent library scientist and the President of Bazm-e-Akram, Abdul Samad Ansari, passed away in Karachi on June 20.

“We announce with tears that one of our colleagues, Abdul Samad Ansari departed to heaven at 3.10 am on June 20 due to sudden heart failure. His soyem was held on June 22,” Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, the founder of the Bazm-e-Akram said in a statement. 

“He had started his career as a cataloguer at the Dr Mahmood Hussain Library, housed in the University of Karachi. He was the appointed as cooperative lecturer in the department of library science at the university,” she recalled. 

“Having worked as a librarian in different organizations like the Works Library, Nabi Bagh Library and Madinat-ul-Hikmah he was working at the Trinity Girls College Library at the time of his death,” she added. 

Abdul Samad Ansari was serving as the President of the Bazm-e-Akram, a literary forum established by the worthy students of Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari in the honour of their beloved and famed teacher. 

A life member of the Pakistan Library Association (PLA), he was also one of the editors of the iconic quarterly, Pakistan Library and Information Science Journal (PLISJ). He was Deputy Director of the Pakistan Bibliographical Working Group (PBWG). 

“He was a jolly person by nature which made him popular among his circle of friends. He had a good sense of humour too,” Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, who was instrumental in getting him elected as the President of the Bazm-e-Akram, narrated. 

“Abdul Samad Ansari had cooperated in the compilation of the famous publications like Who’s Who in Library Science in Pakistan and the book of children libraries with the renowned scholar, Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari,” she said. 

“He belonged to a literary family his grandmother, Naeem Fatima Taufeeq having contributed several poetical collections to literature. He himself conducted several interviews of dignitaries and was also a published poet,” Prof Dr Nasim Fatima informed.

SSUET to organize biomedical conference

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi, has announced to organize the inaugural International Conference on biomedical engineering and medical sciences in the second week of October 2017. 

It will be a mega event to be held as part of the celebration activities on the eve of 200th birth anniversary of great reformer, educationist and visionary Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. 

The Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association (AMUOBA) has declared year 2017 as the year for celebrating the 200th birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.  

A number of memorable events have already been held under the aegis of the SSUET and the AMUOBA while more are to follow during the year with the biggest being the Sir Syed Day, an annual feature, to be observed on October 17. 

The Chancellor SSUET, Jawaid Anwar, is the Patron-in Chief of the Conference while Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr M Afzal Haque, is the patron. 

A 14-member organizing committee comprising of Prof Dr M.A. Haleem, Chairman of biomedical engineering department, Dr Bushra Jabeen Mehdi, Dr Engr Zia Mohy-ud-Din, Dr Darakshan M. Saleem, Dr Mariaz Raziq, Dr. Engr Eraj Humayun Mirza, Dr Uzma Mahmood, Engr Nadia Sikandar, Engr Mohammed Muzzamil Khan, Engr Syed Fahad Akbar Ali, Engr Shafia Tabassum, Engr Syed Muhammed Omair, Engr Nageen Shahid and Engr Sania Tanvir has been delegated the task of hosting the event in a befitting manner. 

Besides a large number of biomedical scientists and engineers from home, about a dozen speakers are expected from abroad including those from USA, Sweden, Canada, Germany, South Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Finland and UK having confirmed their participation. 

Biomedical engineering applies engineering principles to medicine and improving quality of life for humans and animals. It is a highly trans-disciplinary field, integrating physical, chemical and mathematical sciences with clinical studies. 

Biomedical engineers use their expertise in engineering, biomedical engineering sciences (biophysics, biochemistry, biotechnology and physiology) besides medicine to make the world a healthier place. They develop and apply trans-disciplinary knowledge and skills to solve complex problems and improve health care technology, from diagnostics to treatment. 

The two-day conference aims to address new developments in the domain of biomedical engineering and medical sciences. It will host talks of internationally renowned speakers from industry, academics and research institutes.

PLISJ going strong

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Pakistan Library and Information Science Journal (PLISJ), a quarterly publication of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB), Karachi, continued its unhindered journey in the 48th year by bringing out the April-June 2017 issue (Volume 48, Number 2) which is quite rich in content as usual. 

The PLISJ, recognized as one of the leading research journals of the country, has been coming out four times every year for nearly half a century without the desired support from the various stakeholders. 

The LPB, a non-governmental body of eminent library scientists, has continued facilitation of publishing the quarterly journal as well as other books related to the profession on self-help basis without having compromised on quality of content. 

The PLISJ Chief Editor, Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, who is also the Founder President of the LPB, is being well served by his trusted lieutenant, Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, herself one of the luminaries, in keeping both the entities afloat despite the numerous challenges. 

The April-June 2017 issue of the PLISJ is thicker in volume than the previous one. It is spread over 136 pages which includes an Urdu section of 20 pages. The purple cover with a tinge of green of latest issue of the quarterly journal keeps it graceful. 

Besides the contributions from the Chief Editor, Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, and the Deputy Chief Editor, Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, the list of worthy contributors in the latest issue of the PLISJ include Prof Dr Rubina Bhatti, Dr Nasreen Shagufta, Dr Amna Khatoon, Dr Kamran Ishfaq, Dr Mohammad Shahid Soraya, Dr Mohammad Uzair-ul-Hasan, Dr Mirza Naseer, Dr Salman Bin Naeem, Mohammad Javed, Sajjad Ahmed, Noor Mustafa Khan, Sidra Shan, Asim Mahmood Khan and Mohammad Maroof.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Olympian Jaseem Khan visits Alma Mater

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The captain of the Pakistan hockey team, Olympian Jaseem Khan, who remained a student of the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi, and obtained an engineering degree from the institution, visited his Alma Mater. 

On the occasion he met Chancellor Jawaid Anwar and Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammed Afzal Haq besides Registrar Syed Sarfraz Ali, Dean of Engineering Prof Dr Altaf, Faculty Chairpersons and other university officials. 

The Chancellor eulogized the services of Jaseem Khan and described him a special talent which emerged from the SSUET and became a national asset. 

Wishing him all the best in his future career, Chancellor Jawaid Anwar presented him the university's souvenir The Director Sports SSUET, Mubbashir Mukhtar, Javed Iqbal and Asif Zaheer were also present on the occasion.