Vaccines have eradicated polio — but not in Pakistan

Pledging conference held in London to raise money for immunisation.

Express June 13, 2011


In December last year, global leaders agreed to support the Decade of Vaccines to ensure the discovery, development, and delivery of lifesaving vaccines across the world, especially to the poorest countries. For this, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation’s (GAVI) pledging conference was held on Monday in London to raise $3.7 billion to scale-up immunisation programmes between 2011 and 2015.

Polio is the second disease at the brink of global eradication - after small pox - because of vaccines. But this is not the state of polio in Pakistan. Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta discussed the last mile in global polio eradication in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, where he stressed that the tremendous potential of vaccines needs to be realised during this decade.

He is the chair of Aga Khan University’s division of maternal and child health and member of the steering committee of the Decade of Vaccines initiative.

Around the 1950s, polio was endemic in 125 countries in five continents, paralysing 350,000 children annually. But half a century of efforts has led to a 99 per cent decrease in the global incidence of polio.

But pockets of the disease remain in geographically limited areas in just four countries — Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Weakness in the polio programme in Pakistan, compounded by recent floods and a conflict in the north, lead to a 62 per cent increase in cases, with 144 confirmed children with polio in 2010 and over 35 cases in the first quarter of 2011,” says Dr Bhutta. “All resources and collective wisdom should be combined to ensure that the last mile in the race to eradicate polio is the very last mile that we will ever run in the quest to relegate polio to the corridors of history.” PRESS RELEASE

Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2011.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ


Most Read