New anti-polio plan

The government has decided to launch another five-year plan for polio eradication, amounting to $798 million

May 19, 2022


Alarmed at the emergence of three polio cases this year after experiencing zero cases of the disease for 15 months at a stretch, the government has decided to launch another five-year plan for polio eradication in the country. An amount of $798 million will be spent on the anti-polio programme during 2022 and 2026. Of this amount, the Islamic Development Bank will give a loan of $192 million and $606 million will be provided by the Global Polio Initiative as grant. The allocation of a substantial fund for ending polio indicates that the government is determined to eradicate the crippling disease from the country. When Pakistan was optimistic about achieving zero-polio status, two children were detected with the poliovirus in April this year and one more in May — all in North Waziristan. This has come as a serious setback to the government’s efforts over the past several years to fully banish poliovirus from Pakistan. Over the past one decade, the government has spent around one billion dollars on the anti-polio programme.

Unfortunately, despite the huge expenditure and efforts, the disease persists in the country. The causes of this are misgivings about polio drops. Certain quarters are trying to sow confusion with regard to polio vaccination. These circles have succeeded in their diabolical designs to some extent. People influenced by the toxic propaganda about the polio drops have refused to get their children immunised. Families decline to get their children to receive polio drops on various pretexts. It has recently been revealed that people used fake markers on fingers of children to mislead vaccination teams. Other pretexts range from simple to the subtle. In this way, gullible segments of society have exposed their own children to the risk of contracting the crippling disease. These ordinary people have unwittingly fallen prey to the false propaganda against polio drops. Even the presence of a single case of polio on the globe can infect people in places where the disease has been fully eradicated. The whole world needs to act as one in the fight against polio.


Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2022.

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