National Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Dr. Shahzad Baig stated that community resistance, driven by misconceptions and cultural resistance to the hinders polio vaccination, are hurdles in polio eradication in Pakistan.
Dr Shahzad Baig delivered the statement in a keynote address at the Rotary conference held in Lahore on Saturday. The provincial Emergency Operations Centre coordinator, Syedah Ramallah Ali, was also present.
Dr Shahzad stated in his address that the polio outbreak in North Waziristan was limited to one tehsil only. “A number of measures are being taken,” he continued. “hinders polio vaccination eradication campaigns in south Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will be held on separate dates from the rest of the country so quality is not compromised. The campaigns will be synchronized with Afghanistan and microplans will be strengthened to include all communities, including migrants and displaced persons”, said Dr Shahzad.
The NEOC coordinator urged parents to routinely immunize children on time. “Routine immunization is essential against preventable diseases like polio”, Dr Shahzad added.
During her address, Punjab EOC coordinator Ramallah traced the history of polio. “In 1988, 350,000 children fell prey to polio annually. Presently, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only endemic countries left on the globe”, said Ms Ramallah.
“Punjab has not reported any polio cases since October 2020. Environmental samples are also negative for wild poliovirus since May 2021. But we cannot afford to be complacent. Punjab has increased vigilance to prevent reemergence of the virus,” Ms Ramallah observed.