Lost — The battle against polio

Hundreds of thousands of children remained unvaccinated across the country as 2014 saw a record number of polio cases.
Published December 31, 2014

For the first time in 14 years, the number of polio cases in Pakistan surged past 200. By the end of December 2014, the country was hanging perilously close to another dreaded number: 300. Despite regulations by WHO and a 'polio emergency' being declared by the government, the number of cases continued to multiply and according to numbers on 31 December, Pakistan's polio cases had reached 296 as reported by End Polio Pakistan.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic but efforts to eradicate the disease have been severely hindered in recent years as militants continue to attack immunisation teams and polio workers.

Polio cases in Pakistan reached a low of 28 in 2005 but rose to 198 in 2011. In 2012, Pakistan had 58 cases, while 93 were recorded in 2013, as reported by End Polio Pakistan.

Militants allege polio vaccination is a cover for espionage or Western-conspiracy to sterilise Muslims.

Zoom in on the map to see a break down of number of polio cases in Pakistan along with the number of workers killed.


Source: End Polio Pakistan. ( Map shows data of polio workers killed in 2014)

A survey conducted by the district government reveals that 241 children could not be administered polio drops during polio campaigns in the district. The survey was conducted through the secretaries of 117 union councils (UCs) of the district.

In their struggle to protect children from the crippling disease, female immunisation workers have faced the brunt of attacks aimed at polio teams in Balochistan. Threats and intimidation have been a constant in their lives and the recent killings of polio workers in the southwestern province have invoked a deep sense of insecurity among the female volunteers and lady health workers.

COMNet provides the infrastructure and human resources necessary for large scale communication and social mobilisation interventions aimed at polio eradication throughout the country.


Polio cases in each province (2008 - 2014) |Create infographics

High risk areas in each province


Designed and Compiled by Shameen Khan
Map by Sajjad Haider
Source Extended Program on Immunization (EPI)
Photos by Agencies

Click here for Dawn.com's special coverage of the year 2014.