Pakistan launches nationwide anti-polio campaign

Pakistan launches nationwide anti-polio campaign

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday launched a state anti-polio campaign to vaccinate about 39.6 million children under the age of 5 within the country because the government appealed to the people for his or her support to eradicate the crippling disease.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Health Services Zafar Mirza said the govt is committed to succeed in every child with the polio vaccine.

According to the planet Health Organisation, Pakistan is one among the three countries, along side Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio remains endemic.

"We have critically reviewed our performance during last campaign and worked with provincial and district teams for a good better preparedness for this nationwide vaccination drive," he said.

Mirza appealed to the people to hitch hands with the govt to eradicate the polio virus from the country.

Over 2,65,000 polio workers will go door-to-door to administer polio drops to about 39.6 million children, officials said.

The initiative has come days after Pakistan confirmed 5 new polio cases, taking the amount of these suffering from the disease this year to 17.

Last year, 144 polio cases were reported nationwide, far above 12 in 2018 and eight in 2017.

Prime Minister Khan had in December said that it had been a "matter of shame" that Pakistan was among the countries where polio was still prevalent.

Attempts to eradicate the disease are seriously hampered by deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years by militants, who oppose the drives, claiming the polio drops cause infertility.

Attacks on immunisation teams have claimed nearly 70 lives since December 2012.