Polio vaccination campaigns set out to eradicate polio in Pakistan
Team Pakistan Intern,
Global Human Rights Defence
Vaccination drives are happening in different regions of Pakistan to immunize all children under the age of 5 against polio. In Sindh and Punjab a five-day campaign is currently underway with the aim of vaccinating over 20 million children (Staff Report (a), 2023). Abdul Qadir Patel, The Federal Minister for National Health Services, has expressed that the ministery is working to completely eridacate polio in Pakistan when he met a delegation of the French Agency for Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last Friday in Islamabad to discuss this topic (Staff Report (b), 2023).
In order to be internationally recognized as a country that is polio-free there must be three years with no cases registered of the wild poliovirus (WHO, 2022). The last registered in Pakistan occured in August 2022 when 20 children were diagnosed. However, recently strains of the wild poliovirus where discovered in sewage water, indicating that the virus is still present in Pakistan (Staff Report (a), 2023). Pakistan is currently on of the last countries where the wild poliovirus type 1 is still endemic (WHO, n.d.). Abdul Qadir Patel expressed that the 2022 floods seriously affected the health service infrastructure, but that the campaign to fully eradicate polio from Pakistan remains a core priority (Staff Report (b), 2023).
Staff Report (a). (2023, March 16). First phase of anti-polio vaccination underway at brisk pace. Pakistan Today. Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/16/first-phase-of-anti-polio-vaccination-underway-at-brisk-pace/
Staff Report (b). (2023, March 17). Qadir reiterates govt’s resolve to eradicate polio from Pakistan. Pakistan Today. Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/17/qadir-reiterates-govts-resolve-to-eradicate-polio-from-pakistan/
World Health Organization. (n.d.). Poliomyelitis (polio). Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://www.who.int/health-topics/poliomyelitis#tab=tab_1
World Health ORganization. (2022, June 20). 20 years since European Region was first declared polio free. Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://www.who.int/europe/news/item/20-06-2022-20-years-since-european-region-was-first-declared-polio-free