Battle against polio

Battle against polio

May 12, 2024


The scourge of polio is slowly spreading its tendrils once more across the landscape of Pakistan. In a concerning turn of events, wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has reappeared in sewage samples from Hub, a district that had proudly remained free from the virus until now. This unsettling development — coupled with the detection of WPV1 in several other districts and the rising count of new cases, currently standing at 116 for this year alone — casts a shadow of uncertainty over our nation’s efforts to eradicate this crippling disease.

As the virus stealthily infiltrates previously unaffected areas, it becomes abundantly clear that our battle against polio is far from won. While strides have been made in bolstering vaccination campaigns and strengthening surveillance mechanisms, the complex interplay of factors such as cross-border transmission, vaccine hesitancy and logistical challenges in reaching remote communities continues to thwart our progress. Yet, amid these challenges lies an opportunity for renewed determination and collective resolve. The upcoming polio vaccination campaign slated for June presents a crucial juncture in our fight against the virus. Timed strategically before Eid, a period of heightened travel and potential viral spread, this campaign holds the promise of reaching millions of children and bolstering our defences against polio. However, success in our endeavours hinges not only on the efficacy of vaccination drives but also on our ability to engage communities and foster trust in immunisation. It is incumbent upon us to harness the power of grassroots advocacy and leverage the expertise of healthcare workers.

The government must learn from past failures and chart a course towards a future where polio is but a distant memory. In the face of adversity, let us stand united in our commitment to protect the health and well-being of our nation’s children.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2024.

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