Catastrophic surge in polio cases

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PAKISTAN was close to wiping out the polio cases but this year the crippling virus has risen its ugly head again which should ring alarm bells in the relevant quarters to take remedial measures to reverse the catastrophic surge in polio cases.
Amid propaganda against polio vaccine and frequent refusals by parents to inoculate their children against the virus, five more polio cases were confirmed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday. With this, the number of polio cases has climbed to 53 this year, far more than the last year figure of 12. In a sharp contrast, only eight cases were confirmed in 2017. It has been learnt that none of the recent victims of polio was vaccinated during polio campaigns and routine immunization. This is the fallout of the propaganda campaign that was launched against the polio vaccine in Peshawar earlier this year in the month of April. While some of the culprits were arrested and legal action was taken against behind the evil propaganda, yet resistance to polio vaccination has increased since then. Recent polio cases should serve as a warning to the parents who are refusing the vaccination to their children. They must get their children vaccinated against the children before it is too late. The parents must realize that the polio can cause paralysis or even death and whilst there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect their children from this crippling disease. And the vaccination being provided to the children is of international standards and it has no side effects. Both the federal and provincial governments should launch large-scale awareness campaigns through media including TV channels and radio in order to highlight the importance of vaccination and dispel the negative impression about the polio vaccination. The focus of this campaign must be in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the most number of cases has been reported. Polio workers must also fulfil their responsibility honestly and ensure that no child is left out. Rise in polio cases should be treated as an emergency like situation and requisite steps need to be taken to check the trend and realize the long cherished dream of making Pakistan polio free.

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