Pakistan could be next polio-free country: WHO

Published October 25, 2020
Pakistan could be the next country on the journey to a polio-free world, World Health Organisation Country Representative Dr Palitha Mahipala said on Saturday. — Photo courtesy: WHO Pakistan Twitter
Pakistan could be the next country on the journey to a polio-free world, World Health Organisation Country Representative Dr Palitha Mahipala said on Saturday. — Photo courtesy: WHO Pakistan Twitter

ISLAMABAD: After more than 30 years of effort, the African region was certified as free of wild polio in August this year, and Pakistan could be the next country on the journey to a polio-free world, World Health Organisation Country Representative Dr Palitha Mahipala said on Saturday.

Dr Mahipala was speaking at an event on World Polio Day, observed to recognise the contribution of the government of Pakistan, polio workers, caregivers, civil society and donors, who are part of the fight against polio in the country.

Dr Mahipala noted that the polio eradication programme and partners affirmed they will remain undeterred and urged all to get behind this national cause.

“Due to enormous challenges such as misconceptions about vaccines and the Covid-19 lockdowns, the efforts against polio have been affected. The polio programme, with its partners, has now been able to ramp-up activities which are vitalised resolve to end polio in Pakistan, as recently done by Africa,” he said.

He added that global partners, including WHO and Unicef, have contributed significantly while supporting the government in the effort to eradicate polio.

However, he said, more is needed to eradicate the disease once and for all; a key factor in its success is the hard work of more than 260,000 frontline workers.

Dr Palitha said: “They are our real heroes in this effort, and with the provided support, they have made us proud by vaccinating millions of children during each campaign.”

Highlighting the role of community and parents, he said that now, when polio immunisation activities have safely resumed in the country, it is highly necessary that every child is vaccinated.

He added it is the moral and social responsibility of the community, caregivers and parents to play their active role in vaccinating children against the disease.

As part of ongoing campaigns, the next sub-national polio eradication campaign will begin on Oct 26 with a target to vaccine more than 31 million children below the age of five.

The campaign will include 33 districts each in Punjab and Balochistan, 41 districts and towns in Sindh, eight districts in Gilgit Baltistan, 10 districts in Azad Kashmir and one district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

All routine immunisation centres have also resumed services and parents have been encouraged to vaccinate their children against all preventable diseases according to the advised schedule.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2020

Opinion

No Eid for Sachal
16 May 2021

No Eid for Sachal

All this pain has been inflicted on man by man. When reason fails, this is what man resorts to. Naked barbarity.
US exit: security implications
16 May 2021

US exit: security implications

All indications are that transnational terrorist groups are gearing up to increase their operations in the region.

Editorial

16 May 2021

Riyadh-Tehran thaw

SEVERAL official pronouncements over the last few days have confirmed that efforts are underway behind the scenes to...
16 May 2021

Ruthless evictions

FOR a state to deprive residents of their homes without providing for alternative housing for them is a dereliction...
16 May 2021

Wheat concerns

THE new official projections for provisional wheat output suggest that Punjab may harvest around 20.5m tonnes of...
Eid during Covid
Updated 13 May 2021

Eid during Covid

It is indisputable that our actions now will prevent matters from becoming far worse.
Updated 14 May 2021

Foreign policy gaffes

MIXED messages, retractions and clarifications from the government have become an all-too-common occurrence when it...
Zimbabwe series win
Updated 15 May 2021

Zimbabwe series win

For millions of Pakistani fans, it was a thrilling experience to see their team returning to its winning ways.