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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

WHO’s Dr. Ujala Nayyar Says The End To Polio Is Coming

Dr. Ujala Nayyar, the surveillance officer for polio at the World Health Organization in Pakistan, says the country is doing its “level best” to eradicate polio, even as she issues a challenge to her colleagues to do even more to eradicate the disease.

She is proud of having implemented an effective process for detecting polio, especially in the environment. Identifying when the virus is circulating in the environment allows UNICEF, WHO and Rotary to implement measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Dr. Ujala is a powerful woman in Pakistan. She acknowledged that at times she faces discrimination, noting that less well-educated women in other parts of the society in Pakistan face much greater challenges. Still, she uses her power and influence to advocate for Pakistan’s children and simultaneously demonstrates that women can contribute more.

Dr. Ujala joined me for a conversation at Rotary’s World Polio Day celebration in Philadelphia; watch the full interview at the top of the article.

Interview with Dr. Ujala Nayyar, the Surveillance Officer, Punjab, Pakistan of World Health Organization.

The following is the pre-interview with Dr. Ujala Nayyar. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

The World Health Organization is part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative focused on eradicating polio worldwide.

More about World Health Organization:

Twitter: @WHO


The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority for public health within the United Nations system.

Dr. Ujala Nayyar, World Health Organization Surveillance Officer for Punjab, India (left), speaks with journalist Alex Witt at the Rotary’s sixth annual World Polio Day event, streamed live from the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 24 October 2018. Photo Credit: Rotary International.

Dr. Ujala Nayyar’s bio:

Twitter: @NayyarUjala

Dr. Nayyar has been working in the field of medicine and public health since 2004, when she completed medical school in Lahore, Pakistan. She then decided to pursue a career in public health management and went to England to complete Masters in Management, in 2007. There she had opportunity to observe the difference between the health sectors of Pakistan and England. After her return, she served in different public health projects and completed her residency in community medicine for the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan.

Dr. Nayyar joined the World Health Organization in 2014 with a focus on polio surveillance (investigating outbreaks and developing response plans, monitoring vaccine campaigns, and more) in Punjab, Pakistan.

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