As India has come out of the polio entirely, neighbouring Pakistan is keen to eliminate the deadly disease and health authorities in Pakistan have started administering polio injections for the first time, while oral polio drops have already been administered in many parts.
The polio injections to be given in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) for the first time in Pakistan’s history, is said to be highly effective in preventing paralytic disease caused by all three types of poliovirus and many advanced countries are using the method to keep polio under control.
The Fata secretariat said that polio injections have been planned for 17,393 children in the frontier region of Bannu district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and os far about 5,906 children have been injected with anti polio vaccines in the five day drive that will end on Friday.
While injections are more effective compared to polio drops, the polio vaccination has often faced stiff resistence from the parents of rural and hill regions.
The Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-18 of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is part of the three-nation program covering Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
In 2014, the number of confirmed Polio cases reached 296, the highest number since 1998. The number actually reached a low of 28 in 2005 but rose to 198 in 2011. The next year saw the number at 58 cases, while 93 were recorded in 2013, according to End Polio Pakistan program.
(With inputs from IANS)