Pakistani government seems adamant on eradicating the menace of polio from the country. Being an unfortunate member of the polio club, Pakistan is one of three countries in the world Afghanistan, Nigeria being the other two, in which the disease of polio still exists. Parents in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were sent to jails following their refusal to let their children be vaccinated.
Only this year since January 2015, Pakistan has contracted 15 polio cases which is an alarming situation for the country. Last year, 306 cases of polio emerged from the country and a total of 2.7 million children present in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remain the government’s target to be vaccinated during the three day campaign. The record of polio success in the country remains at an all time low due to the fact that mistrust of the vaccination’s health effects have led people to not take part in it. A large section of the local population believes the fact that upon being vaccinated with anti-polio drops, the population will become infertile and not be able to reproduce. Anti-polio vaccinations have also been treated as a trickery by the West.
Another important reason for anti-polio vaccinations being not trusted enough in Pakistan is the fact that Dr.Shakil Afridi, the American spy who aided the United States in killing Osama Bin Laden in the Abbotabad raid in 2011, had taken the cover of a polio volunteer.
Rotary International is among the donors helping Pakistan and other countriesimprove their anti-polio efforts. Aziz Memon is the group’s National PolioPlusChair for Pakistan. He admits security concerns and political unrest have hurtthe effort. He says the country can help remove polio as a health threat.
“We are almost done. Pakistan is a stumbling block and hopefully in a yearyou will see that the plans we have, we will be able to give you some good news.”