Recently collected environmental samples from Kohat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) were tested positive for carrying poliovirus, the crippling virus that has traced back to Kabul. The virus could have affected Afghan nationals as a huge number of them reside in the K-P provincial city; officials said that Faqirabad was the place where the drainage system of around nine union councils with some two Afghan refugee camps converged. In fight against polio Pakistan has achieved significant successes, but it is also a fact that country is still among the three countries, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio cases keep surfacing.
According to reports special security arrangements have been made for the anti-polio campaign that would begin in different parts of the country from today. 19.15 million children were planned to be vaccinated in Punjab, 8.7 million in Sindh, 5.68 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2.46 million in Balochistan, 1.03 million in FATA, 0.74 million in AJK, 0.237 million in Gilgit-Baltistan and 0.313 million children in Islamabad during that campaign. While as a nation we are determined to fight against polio there are few elements that must be given importance to achieve maximum success. A concerted effort is required to eliminate poliovirus entirely and this means two areas need utmost focus: one, bringing awareness to people and two, keeping terrorists away from polio health teams.
There is need to spread awareness that people must get their children vaccinated as well as spread knowledge that how poliovirus spreads. Parents should administer polio drops to their children on regular basis. Unhygienic environment and substandard hygiene practices in public places such as restaurants provide a flourishing environment for the virus to spread. Another very important aspect to eradicate polio from the country is to provide secure environment to the polio teams working to eliminate polio. It is often reported that polio teams are attacked while performing their duties during anti-polio drives. It is very unfortunate that less importance is being given to protect the workers who actually render services to fellow citizen in humanitarian work. Coordinated efforts of both government departments and the general public are needed to make the country polio free.
Polio eradication has seen progress but a lot of ground still needed to be covered.