Sad state for Pakistan’s polio efforts


With India celebrating its third consecutive year being polio free, it is a time of deep concern for all healthcare professionals of our country. The World Health Organization states that since 13th January 2013, there has been no case found of wild poliovirus. This means that Pakistan remains the only country which is preventing WHO from calling the South East Asian region as polio free zone.

Its repercussions have been felt acutely during this year’s Hajj and Umra time, when many Pakistani’s were restrained from getting a passport to Saudi Arabia due to Pakistan’s polio status. The global pressure on Pakistan is rising to end this disease, however due to the interference and brutal assassinations of polio working teams; the effort is getting considerably delayed. In 2014, a total of 43 cases have been identified. Of these 36 cases are from FATA. Unfortunately, Peshawar has been stated as the ‘reservoir of poliovirus in the world’.

There is still hope given by the officials of Peshawar addressing the polio drive, with many considering 2014 as the last year of polio in the country. This area has been a major concern among health leaders along with some areas of Sindh. However, the authorities are hopeful for complete eradication of polio should it be effectively tackled.

One initiative by the polio teams and governments is to pay parents in the new drive. Parents will be given Rs. 1000 per new born child who completes the 15 month program of vaccinations. This initiative is hoped to create the required compliance with families about vaccination programs for children. Pakistan needs to step up its efforts, otherwise, it may be only place left on the planet contributing to numerous morbidities related to polio.

April 23, 2014

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