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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Authorities in KPK and Sindh are determined to make Pakistan polio-free

The emerging case of polio spreading across the country is causing widespread depression despite all efforts, the respective governments have failed to achieve the set target-polio free Pakistan, however, government officials and authorities are adamant to combat the rising problem.

News Analysis |

During a meeting CM Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, ordered to start a crackdown against those not willing to get their children vaccinated. During the meeting the chief minister was told that in Pakistan there were 24 polio cases, of them three in Sindh, including one in Larkana, and two in Karachi, three in Punjab, 12 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and six in the tribal areas of KPK.

In a shocking press release, the provincial government’s health department has said that five new cases of the polio virus were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to the KP Health Department, three cases of polio were reported in Bannu and two cases were reported in Torghar, bringing the number of cases to 31 in the province for this year.

There is no known cure but the disease can be prevented if children are given multiple treatments with the polio vaccine, the WHO says.

In all of the five cases, the children had not been administered and were given zero doses of the vaccine. In a press statement issued by the Coordinator, EOC KP Captain (R) Kamran Ahmed Afridi said, “All the efforts put in by the provincial government to eradicate polio from the region will not be achieved unless the refusing parents understand that their individual decision to refuse anti-polio vaccines not only demonstrates indifference to their child’s health but is also an expression of disregard to the national cause of polio eradication that we must have to achieve as a nation.”

The situation in Sindh is also not quite satisfactory where several cases from urban as well as rural areas have been registered. CM Sindh has passed necessary instructions to the chief secretary to implement the policy of zero-tolerance towards parents unwilling to get their children vaccinated.

Read more: Cyber-Police: Government to take action against social media campaigns attacking Polio vaccines

Along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, Pakistan is one of the only three countries where complete polio eradication has not yet been achieved.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), polio has been all but wiped out across the world following a sustained vaccination campaign, with only 22 cases reported in 2017 against more than 350,000 in 1988. There is no known cure but the disease can be prevented if children are given multiple treatments with the polio vaccine, the WHO says.

Read more: Ray of hope: Pakistan’s journey towards a Polio-free country

While it has virtually been eliminated, polio remains a threat to global health as long as a single child remains infected, the virus can easily spread into polio-free countries and unimmunized populations, according to the health body.