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.
National polio eradication drive was initiated in 1994, but despite decades long efforts country has not yet been able to eliminate the virus completely. In 1990,s polio cases in the country were in thousands, which were reduced to 54 in 2015 and just 20 in 2016. Recently, with the second case of a child diagnosed with virus in Karachi city, total cases of polio in the year 2017 have increased to six in the country.
If we look at the statistics, we will come to know that Federally Administered Tribal Areas was one of most affected areas of the country where in 2014 almost 179 cases of polio were reported. Now constant resolve to eliminate polio has brought very pleasing development as in the last two years not a single case of polio emerged from the area. However, improvement in law and order situation has also contributed massively in this regard as local community responded positively during the various anti-polio vaccination drives.
Misleading propaganda of branding polio vaccine as harmful and in some areas terming it against religion also convinced some families to not allow the polio drops to be administered to their children. Many polio workers were also attacked during polio eradication campaigns. Despite of all these hurdles, authorities have achieved positive results. Now Pakistan is fighting its final battle against the virus and has achieved major success.
Not denying the fact that despite many hardships authorities have successfully brought down the graph of polio cases, but more efforts are required to make country polio free. If we look at the decrease of cases, we can see huge progress but still a lot more needs to be done in order to fulfill country’s international commitment of being polio-free region. At a time when polio free Pakistan seems very near, we need to redouble our efforts in order to come out from the shameful list of countries where polio cases still emerge on regular basis.
With constant decrease in polio cases, hopefully very soon Pakistan would be polio-free country.