Anti-polio drive launched in Pakistan despite COVID-19 threats

Aizbah KhanWeb Editor

20th Jul, 2020. 11:35 pm
Anti-polio drive launched in Pakistan despite COVID-19 threats

Polio workers wearing masks and gloves in Pakistan have launched an anti-polio drive, which has been delayed since March due to the coronavirus.

800,000 children under the age of 5 across the country will be vaccinated against polio during the five-day campaign.

Officials said the postponement of the campaign in Pakistan had raised fears of an increase in polio cases.

Remember that Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world where polio cases are still found.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement that according to official figures, 60 cases of polio have been reported in Pakistan so far in 2020, while eight cases were confirmed in 2017 and 12 in 2018, but increased to 147 in 2019. Cases surfaced.

Regarding polio, senior official Rana Muhammad Safdar said that the campaign has targeted eight high-risk areas in all the four provinces.

He said that all precautionary measures against coronavirus have been put in place for the workers to ensure that the spread of code-19 from the workers is stopped in practice.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan so far is 265,791 while the number of deaths has reached 5,631.

Sindh Health Minister Azra Fazal Pechuho told media that the workers have been given the best training to ensure the safety of the children.

The Emergency Operations Center for Polio Sindh said in a statement that polio workers have been instructed to stay away from citizens and seek help from parents to vaccinate their children.

The United Nations agency UNICEF warned in April that a halt to vaccinations could pave the way for a 2020 and future crisis.

Even before COVID-19 in Pakistan, the campaign against polio faced several obstacles.

Last year, rumours were spread in Peshawar against polio vaccines that many children fell ill after taking the vaccines.

Angry people set fire to a health centre and blocked the road, pelted vehicles with stones, while medical staff were harassed and threatened.

In another incident last year, two policemen guarding female polio workers were shot dead.

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