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Polio eradication to take two years, NA told

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Aamir Mehmood Kiani has informed the National Assembly that polio virus will be eliminated in the country within two years.

He said this while responding to calling attention notice moved by the Dr Nausheen Hamid regarding existence of polio virus in potable water in the surrounding areas of Nala Leh, Rawalpindi.

The minister said that two cases had been reported in the Rawalpindi city, because people in the areas had been shifted from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan.

However, he said no case had been reported at local level.

“Due to steps taken by the government, we are hopeful polio virus will be eliminated in the country,” he added.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, that suffers from endemic polio, a childhood virus that can cause paralysis or death.

By March 2018, Pakistan has had just one polio case. The number of cases has steadily declined since 2014 when 306 were reported. Last year, there were only eight cases, according to reports.

A country must have no cases for three consecutive years in order to be considered to have eradicated polio by the World Health Organisation.

Efforts to eradicate the disease have been undermined by opposition from militants, who say immunization is a foreign ploy to sterilize Muslim children or a cover for Western spies.

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