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Aishwarya to campaign for polio eradication programme in Pakistan

D.N.I.S. News Network - Lending star power to polio eradication programme in neighbouring Pakistan, former Miss World Aishwarya Rai will campaign there in September under an agreement between Islamabad and New Delhi to swap polio ambassadors of the two countries.

Pakistani pop star Jawad Ahmed will be in India doing the same. The two countries lead the world in the number of polio cases and are being targeted by World Health Organisation (W.H.O.).

Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and his Pakistani counterpart Mohammed Nasir Khan agreed on the exchange at a W.H.O. meeting in Geneva in June.

"This is our latest CBM. Like we did with cricket, polio will be our next tool to melt borders between the two countries. We have to fight together against the virus that has disabled many children in India and Pakistan. Both the countries plan to eradicate the disease by December 2006," Nasir Khan was quoted as saying in Indian news daily.

“While 26 fresh cases of polio have been reported from India till 16 August this year, the number is 12 in Pakistan,” Khan added.

The U.N. Children's Fund, Unicef, says India and Pakistan are two of six polio-endemic countries in the world. Of the 784 cases reported in 2003, about 90 per cent were found in Nigeria, India and Pakistan.