Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience



Your Name:

Recipient Email:

File photo
File photo

PESHAWAR: The federal government has asked the provinces to ensure that people travelling abroad get immunised against polio in line with the recommendations of International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organisation so as avoid spread of the childhood ailment to other parts of the world, according to relevant officials.

Last year, Pakistan recorded 93 polio cases. On May 15, the WHO had recommended Pakistan to immunise all its international travellers to check transmission of polio virus to countries long declared polio-free.

According to the sources, all the provinces have been facing an uphill task of implementing the recommendations as the travellers either go unchecked at the airports and seaports or they present fake vaccination certificates.

Any laxity in implementation of the WHO recommendations can lead to stricter restrictions like travel ban for Pakistan, according to the federal government’s letter to the provinces issued on July 15.

Any laxity can result in travel ban, warns federal govt

The Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination has requested the ministry of interior, provincial chief secretaries, director-general of immigration and passports and the Civil Aviation Authority for stricter implementation of the recommendations regarding anti-polio vaccination of travellers.

During the immigration process, the authorities should allow only those possessing a vaccination certificate to embark on the international flights, it said.

The officials said that the provinces also needed more vaccines to implement the recommendations which came into force on May 31 after the WHO accepted the government’s request for an extension of 15 days. As polio cases in the country have surged to 104 this year, the highest among the three polio-endemic countries in the world, Pakistan is facing extreme pressure from the international community to take measures to stop transportation of the virus to their children, they said.

The officials said that the federal ministry of health services regulations had been unable to deal with the provinces because health was a provincial subject after the 18th amendment while the federal government was responsible to make sure that the international commitments were fulfilled.

They said that Pakistan had been monitored closely because of the speed with which new polio cases were surfacing. They said that worried over this situation the polio-free countries had been exerting pressure that international travellers from Pakistan should be administered two drops of OPV irrespective of their age.

The authorities must check vaccination certificates of international travellers obtained from the respective district health officers, medical superintendents and other designated offices at the airports, seaports and land crossings. These certificates should be verified at all exist points.

The letter said that it was mandatory for Pakistan to implement the recommendations as part of its global polio eradication efforts.

Published in Dawn, Aug 4th, 2014

Comments (4) Closed

mubasher Aug 04, 2014 09:19am

Whatever statements government pass, whatever they say, the reality is nothing can be implemented if they do not have intention. Cruel reality is, in Lahore, you can find polio immunization certificate for only 200 Rs. and that is without botheration of going and actually getting polio drops. You just need to ask your travel agent, and the will arrange such certificates for you delivered with your ticket. This is the true face of my country.

Najma Aug 04, 2014 10:04am

I would like to know the cost of standard infant vaccination. I have heard that some basic vaccination cost Rs 10,000. Can someone provide the cost of post natal vaccination in Pakistan. This is a very important information which needs to be discussed and made available to all.

Y Aug 04, 2014 11:00am

What about International visitors coming to Pakistan. They are all virus free!!!! they do not bring in any HIV, MERS or anyother viruses in Pakistan. This is just another tactic to defame Pakistan. Why WHO threatens every now and then to ban Pakistani travelers. Is it justice to ban international travel just because of a few cases????

Mir Aug 04, 2014 04:41pm

This is all extortion of money from the travellers. I paid Rs1000 each for my self and for for my wife to get vaccination certificate at Karachi. Now forget about Polio. worry about the new Ebola decease spreading from west Africa. Bangladesh,India and Pakistan have thousands of soldiers working under united nation piece keeping forces in west Africa. when they will return and if Ebola is introduced in these countries . Look at the population of these countries. I do not know what will happen? This is very scary satiation no joke.