Pakistan is one of three countries in the world which have yet to eradicate polio fully from the country. Time and again civilian governments have tried but conspiracy theories and falsehoods are so widespread within society that it has been impossible to do so.
The continued emergence of polio cases from North Waziristan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa indicates that vaccine refusal phenomenon extends to more than just a handful of families. According to investigative reports, ther places in KP also remain at risk and they include South Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Tank and Lakki Marwat.
According to an editorial, “this resurgence of polio should be viewed as a call for urgent action. Subsequent reports about the two initial polio patients in Mir Ali had revealed that both were cases of silent refusals. The affected children had, thus, remained unvaccinated and susceptible to the virus. In fact, both had fake markers on their fingers. Indelible blue ink is used by vaccinators to distinguish vaccinated children from the rest during door-to-door campaigns. The fingers of these children had been marked by their parents to evade the vaccine dose.”
It is critical that the government tackle the persistent issues in the management of vaccination campaigns, ensure increased scrutiny by polio officials and other health workers so that the various deficiencies in the program are addressed.
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