Polio again breathing in many parts of the country

Monday, October 29th, 2012 2:01:48 by

Polio stood more less reduced to the brinks of total elimination across the world a couple of years ago but some cases used to be occasionally reported in four countries, India, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the virus could not be completely eradicated.

Still the number of polio patients never exceeded to the degree of serious concern by 2010. But since then their number has been on the rise and 198 cases of polio were reported in 2011 while their number this year is feared to go much beyond the figure of 200.

This is the situation when the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) said that even if Pakistan somehow roots out polio virus from the land by the deadline of end of 2012.

It will still have to carry on polio immunization campaigns until 2022 to ensure that the virus is completely eradicated and never afflicts its children again.

GAVI’s deputy chief executive Gavin Evans said on her arrival in Pakistan the other day. She is here to extend GAVI’s support to Pakistan’s program to include vaccination against childhood pneumonia in its immunization campaigns.

GAVI also provided Pakistan $109 million to purchase pneumococcal vaccine up to 2016 but Evans suggested Pakistan produce the vaccine locally.

Pakistan has already missed the target of controlling the disease as there seems no chance of the country the deadline that is only a few months away (December 31 this year).

However, once globally certified as a polio-free state, Pakistan is required to run the immunization program for three more years under the international standard guidelines to ensure complete elimination of the virus.

Most of the polio cases reported this year were from FATA and in militancy-hit areas and one reason for this is said to be forcible resistance against the campaign for ideological reasons.

Afghanistan is also a source of virus transmission into Pakistan because of intermittent movement of people across the border.

No doubt, health authorities did not respond to the menace and ignored repeated global warnings. In fact, the health administration has never risen to the challenge as a global duty.

This places the government under the obligation of taking to task the delinquent officials. They must be whipped to now gear up to ensure its abolition in another couple of years.

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Short URL: https://www.newspakistan.pk/?p=34456

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