Here's Your Guide To Understanding How Serious The Polio Epidemic In Pakistan Is

By Alveena Jadoon | 28 Oct, 2017

Pakistan is one of the three countries in the world (along with Afghanistan and Nigeria) where the polio virus is still present

If you look at the statistics from two years ago, you will realize how widespread the problem was. In 2013, 93 children were paralyzed as a result of the virus. The number rose to 306 in 2014. And in 2015, 25 children were paralyzed as a result.

Source: progress4children.org.pk

 

Before the introduction of the polio eradication program, the situation in Pakistan was very dismal

Source: progress4children.org.pk

 

In the last 24 months, due to global pressure, Pakistan was pushed to introduce a rigorous polio eradication program

Policy makers devised effective and implementable policies. And the issue was dealt with seriously. And in just a span of 24 months, the result is evident.

The following picture shows the districts in which the polio epidemic was prevalent in the past.

Source: unicef.org

 

A country where the polio vaccine was considered a Yahoodi saazish to make Pakistanis infertile, the ratio of children suffering from polio has reduced significantly after the vaccine was forcibly fed to children whose parents were resisting

In 2016, only 20 cases of polio were reported. The biggest success by far is that only 2 cases have been reported in the current year.

Campaigns are designed every now and then to make people more aware about the benefits of getting their children vaccinated.

Authorities do face problems when it comes to convincing people that vaccination is the right way to go about dealing with the epidemic. And it is not just limited to those not exposed to any information about it. The trend is also prevalent in educated people, who have access to all the information in the world. Private practitioners also convince parents to not trust the vaccines provided by the government, just so that these parents keep coming to them seeking a solution.

 

Data shows that 1 in 10 parents in Pakistan easily fall prey to the rumors about polio vaccination

According to a report issued by the polio program in March 2016, parents of 46,967 children refused to vaccinate their children across the country.

Source: progress4children.org.pk

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq is the Prime Minister’s focal person for the polio eradication program. She introduced a special task force, which would go from home to home convincing people, creating awareness, and letting them know the consequences of acting otherwise. Those who failed to comply were arrested if they did not have a valid justification for choosing to not vaccinate their child.

 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on World Polio Day, this year, announced that it is very possible that 2017 might witness the end of the polio virus

What we’re looking at now is sort of the endgame of polio eradication.We are closer than ever, and we’re optimistic that we can see the end of wild poliovirus disease by as early as this year. There are only 12 known cases of the wild poliovirus in existence today, in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

Let us all make this dream possible. A lot of children suffer because of lack of vaccination. And leading a life of disability is not easy, especially in Pakistan, where no policies are devised to cater specially to differently-abled children.

 


Cover image via: huffingtonpost.com

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