Islamabad : A top official of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Pakistan could be the next polio-free country, after years of continued efforts to eradicate the crippling disease. The remarks were made by the WHO’s Country Representative Palitha Mahipala at an event on Saturday to mark World Polio Day, reports Dawn news. Mahipala said that the polio eradication programme and partners have affirmed they will remain undeterred in Pakistan. “Due to enormous challenges such as misconceptions about vaccines and the Covid-19 lockdowns, the efforts against polio have been affected.
“The polio programme, with its partners, has now been able to ramp-up activities which are vitalised resolve to end polio in Pakistan, as recently done by Africa,” he said. He added that global partners, including the Unicef, have contributed significantly while supporting the Pakistan government in its effort to curb the disease, but more was to eradicate it once and for all. Hailing the more than 260,000 frontline workers, Palitha said: “They are our real heroes in this effort, and with the provided support, they have made us proud by vaccinating millions of children during each campaign.”
As part of ongoing campaigns, the next sub-national polio eradication campaign will begin on Monday with a target to vaccine more than 31 million children below the age of five. The campaign will include 33 districts each in Punjab and Balochistan, 41 districts and towns in Sindh, eight districts in Gilgit Baltistan, 10 districts in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and one district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.