Pakistan’s Efforts Against Polio Appreciated By World Health Organization
Pakistan’s Efforts Against Polio Appreciated By World Health Organization: At the seminar on “Poliomyelitis- the Endgame Strategy”, at the University of Health Sciences (UHS), the World Health Organization (WHO) has appreciated government steps for polio eradication.
WHO Team Lead for Polio Eradication in Punjab, Dr. Raul Bonifacio said that in the last stage of polio eradication, Pakistan has made tremendous progress towards poliovirus transmission interruption and eradication.
Pakistan is one of 3 countries in the world with ongoing wild poliovirus transmission, alongside Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Efforts made by Pakistan has resulted
- in declined the number of cases that were 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and 8 in 2017.
- In 2018, only one polio case has so far been reported from Dukki, Balochistan
Dr. Bonifacio shared that eradication efforts had started to close the immunity gaps and the program was on track to reaching the goal of interrupting the transmission of polio in Pakistan.
The genetic picture for Pakistan today provided basis for optimism due to the gains achieved so far. Further efforts needs to be sustained and intensified in the remaining areas of residual wild polio-virus transmission.
The virus is cornered in just three areas now mainly the Khyber-Peshawar corridor, Karachi and the Quetta block.
The risks to Pakistan span beyond these areas and a determined focus on delivering high quality campaigns that ensure finding and vaccinating every missed child is critical to stop virus circulation.
WHO Surveillance Officer, Dr Ujala Nayyar said that a vast majority of parents in Pakistan accepted the polio vaccine: very few refusing vaccination in the highest risk areas.
How Polio Vaccine Is Used
The program is using a combination of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to boost individual immunity of children (aged 4-23 months). Combining OPV and IPV provides stronger protection against polio. IPV strengthens immunity in the blood while OPV strengthens immunity in the gut.
The need today is to bridge the gap in training facilities and procedures to improve clinical diagnosis of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP).
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