Connect with us

Politics

Why polio continues to be a health risk in Pakistan | Asia | An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW

Published

on


Saira Qadir was only 11 months old when she contracted the polio virus. Now 44 years old, she lives in the town of Rawalpinidi, near the capital Islamabad.

Qadir told DW that when they were children, all of her siblings received the polio vaccine except her. Apparently, it was a case of parental neglect that led to her becoming infected with the crippling disease.

Last month, the African Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication officially declared that all 47 countries in the African Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations were free from the virus, no cases have been reported for four years.

“This is an important milestone for Africa. Future generations of African children can now live without wild polio,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Read more: Polio eradication in Africa highlights challenges ahead

The disease is now only present in two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the latter struggling to cope with an increase in cases in recent months. The Muslim-majority South Asian country has recorded 68 cases of polio since the start of the year.

The disease, which mainly affects children under the age of five, can infect the spinal cord, causing paralysis.

Campaign hampered by activism

Pakistan launched its first national polio eradication campaign in 1994. At the time, the country had an average of 20,000 polio cases per year. By 2004, ten years after the campaign began, the number of cases in the country had fallen to just 30 per year. Health experts have called it a major achievement.

However, the campaign lost momentum after the September 11, 2001 attacks and the deterioration of the security situation in the years following the US invasion of Afghanistan. The US-led war on terror in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region has made it difficult for authorities to focus on polio eradication.

“By the mid-2000s, the security situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region had hit the countryside hard,” Dr Rana Safdar, national coordinator at Pakistan’s National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC), told DW. .

Read more: Amid Taliban threats, Pakistan records record polio cases

The Taliban say polio eradication campaigns are used by the West to cover up espionage. They claim the campaigns are similar to a hepatitis vaccination program led by jailed Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, who allegedly helped the CIA track down former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed by US special forces in his hiding place in Abbottabad in May 2011.

Islamist activists regularly carry out violent attacks against polio workers in northwest Pakistan.

Policy issues

Besides activism, experts also attribute the persistence of polio in Pakistan to flawed government policy.

Islamabad-based infectious disease and public health researcher Dr Adnan Khan says poor governance is one of the reasons for the failure of Pakistan’s polio eradication program.

“Polio campaigns are basically part of cleanup strategies; they are used to fill the gaps left by routine vaccination (vaccines given to children at birth). But in Pakistan, door-to-door polio campaigns invariably take more time and resources as compared to routine immunization, ”Khan told DW, adding that field teams often cannot cover. the whole population in specific areas, so some children are left behind.

Health officials complain that many people in Pakistan do not want their children to be vaccinated at birth.

The government says it has adopted a new strategy to tackle the threat of polio by inviting community and religious leaders to work with them. According to Dr Safdar, this strategy has been effective in reducing polio cases to a level as low as eight in 2017 and 12 in 2018.

However, things have changed since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in 2018. In 2019, cases rose to 148 from 12 the year before.

COVID-19 is a priority

Any hope of pushing the numbers down in 2020 was dashed with the onset of the coronavirus crisis in March. Experts fear Pakistan will experience no more polio cases in the coming months as the government suspended national polio campaigns between April and July to focus on efforts to reduce COVID-19.

Ahsan Ali, a polio eradication program manager in the southern port city of Karachi, told DW in May that his immunization work had not been well received amid the pandemic.

“My role has been changed and people do not tolerate us for fear of being potential carriers of the coronavirus due to our door-to-door work,” he said.

Responding to an investigation into the suspension of vaccination campaigns in Pakistan, GPEI spokesperson Sona Bari told DW that the WHO had “repeatedly noted that services such as vaccination were suffering from impacts of COVID-19 on health systems “.

Look ahead

Nationwide polio eradication campaigns finally resumed last month. Authorities say about 40 million children across Pakistan will be vaccinated by December.

“The National Emergency Operations Center plans to invest in regular vaccinations as well as health and nutrition programs for vulnerable children in targeted areas. We hope to show progress in 2021,” said Dr Safdar .

But Dr Khan says it will be difficult to contain transmission of the virus without identifying problem areas and vaccinating everyone, including adults.

Read more: How far is Pakistan prepared to go to fight polio?

What Are The Main Benefits Of Comparing Car Insurance Quotes Online

LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / June 24, 2020, / Compare-autoinsurance.Org has launched a new blog post that presents the main benefits of comparing multiple car insurance quotes. For more info and free online quotes, please visit https://compare-autoinsurance.Org/the-advantages-of-comparing-prices-with-car-insurance-quotes-online/ The modern society has numerous technological advantages. One important advantage is the speed at which information is sent and received. With the help of the internet, the shopping habits of many persons have drastically changed. The car insurance industry hasn't remained untouched by these changes. On the internet, drivers can compare insurance prices and find out which sellers have the best offers. View photos The advantages of comparing online car insurance quotes are the following: Online quotes can be obtained from anywhere and at any time. Unlike physical insurance agencies, websites don't have a specific schedule and they are available at any time. Drivers that have busy working schedules, can compare quotes from anywhere and at any time, even at midnight. Multiple choices. Almost all insurance providers, no matter if they are well-known brands or just local insurers, have an online presence. Online quotes will allow policyholders the chance to discover multiple insurance companies and check their prices. Drivers are no longer required to get quotes from just a few known insurance companies. Also, local and regional insurers can provide lower insurance rates for the same services. Accurate insurance estimates. Online quotes can only be accurate if the customers provide accurate and real info about their car models and driving history. Lying about past driving incidents can make the price estimates to be lower, but when dealing with an insurance company lying to them is useless. Usually, insurance companies will do research about a potential customer before granting him coverage. Online quotes can be sorted easily. Although drivers are recommended to not choose a policy just based on its price, drivers can easily sort quotes by insurance price. Using brokerage websites will allow drivers to get quotes from multiple insurers, thus making the comparison faster and easier. For additional info, money-saving tips, and free car insurance quotes, visit https://compare-autoinsurance.Org/ Compare-autoinsurance.Org is an online provider of life, home, health, and auto insurance quotes. This website is unique because it does not simply stick to one kind of insurance provider, but brings the clients the best deals from many different online insurance carriers. In this way, clients have access to offers from multiple carriers all in one place: this website. On this site, customers have access to quotes for insurance plans from various agencies, such as local or nationwide agencies, brand names insurance companies, etc. "Online quotes can easily help drivers obtain better car insurance deals. All they have to do is to complete an online form with accurate and real info, then compare prices", said Russell Rabichev, Marketing Director of Internet Marketing Company. CONTACT: Company Name: Internet Marketing CompanyPerson for contact Name: Gurgu CPhone Number: (818) 359-3898Email: [email protected]: https://compare-autoinsurance.Org/ SOURCE: Compare-autoinsurance.Org View source version on accesswire.Com:https://www.Accesswire.Com/595055/What-Are-The-Main-Benefits-Of-Comparing-Car-Insurance-Quotes-Online View photos



picture credit

ExBUlletin

to request, modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]

Please disable the ad-blocker on this page to see the content

plus