Why Pakistan Isn ’t Taking that Final Step towards Polio Eradication

A polio vaccinator administers the oral polio vaccine to a child in Pakistan. The country remains one of three in the world where polio is yet to be eradicated. Credit: Zofeen T. Ebrahim/IPSBy Zofeen EbrahimKARACHI, Pakistan, Mar 11 2020 (IPS) Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, the coordinator for Pakistan’s National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication, has sleepless nights thinking about what needs to be done for his country to eradicate polio. “Not only me but the entire team is having sleepless nights thinking how best and how quickly we can reach the finish line,” he told IPS. “It’s always painful to hear a child getting paralysed for life from a vaccine-preventable disease.” Last month, over 39 million children under the age of five were vaccinated across Pakistan. And a little more than 180,000 children were missed because their parents refused to have them vaccinated. While the number of missed children is marginal in comparison to those who were vaccinated, it has caused concern. “The proportion of children missed in the last two campaigns due to refusals is very small (0.5 percent) but where clustered these can still provide the virus with the opportunity to survive longer and re-infect areas that we clean through so much hard work,” Safdar lamented. The Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme began 26 years ago with the “largest surveillance network” in the world — an army of 260,000 polio vaccina...
Source: IPS Inter Press Service - Health - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Authors: Tags: Asia-Pacific Development & Aid Editors' Choice Featured Headlines Health Poverty & SDGs Regional Categories TerraViva United Nations Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV) Pakistan polio eradication Source Type: news

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