Amitabh Bachchan open to join polio campaign for Pakistani children

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 28 2014, 14:40pm hrs
Having helped India eradicate polio, actor and UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan said he was open to a similar eradication campaign for the well-being of Pakistani children too if a proposition for it came his way from the neighbouring country.

Bachchan said this during a press conference in response to a question regarding polio cases being reported in Pakistan.

"If a communication comes from there (Pakistan) and if a programme can be made, then (I) will join it," he told reporters.

The 'Yudh' star, who has been the face of campaign against polio in the country for over a decade now, was in the national capital to participate in a function to mark India's triumph over the disease, after the World Health Organisation declared the country polio-free in March.

Speaking at the function earlier, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, though India has banished polio after a massive campaign for two decades, there was no room for complacency as several other countries including Pakistan were reporting such cases.

"Out of 123 confirmed cases of polio worldwide (this year so far), 94 of them have occurred in Pakistan. And, cases are being reported in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Isarel too. We cannot sit complacent about being polio-free," Vardhan said.

UNICEF Representative to India Louis-Georges Arsenault said that the fight has to be taken forward as "India was polio-free and now the rest of world must eradicate the disease too."

Bachchan said, during the function, that he has "dedicated himself" to the campaign.

"Our country is polio free. And, now we have to take this work forward. Our neighbouring country (Pakistan) is reporting polio cases and other countries too... And, I am always ready to volunteer for a good cause," Bachchan said.