Pakistan would beat polio in months, says WHO

Pakistan would beat polio in months
Polio may very well be eradicated in Pakistan inside months, well being officers say, as a mass vaccination drive is launched.

A World Well being Organisation spokesman informed the one a handful of circumstances have been reported this 12 months in Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan.

The 2 international locations are the final locations the place polio stays endemic.

It’s hoped hundreds of thousands of kids might be vaccinated over three days. Police escorts will guard towards Islamist militants who oppose immunisations.

“The challenges we have now are each logistics and safety,” the WHO’s consultant for Pakistan, Dr Michel Thieren, informed the BBC.

He mentioned about 70,000 medical workers aimed to immunise nearly 10 million kids within the drive, which is going down in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and semi-autonomous tribal areas within the north-west, in addition to in south-west Balochistan province.

“They’ve with them 12 million doses for the approaching three days,” he mentioned.

“We’re very shut. A handful of circumstances [were] observed this 12 months – about 11 in Pakistan and I take into consideration 5 in Afghanistan.

“That is the bottom toll of circumstances in historical past. We count on to be inside months of polio elimination in Pakistan.”

The WHO’s expression of optimism comes after the Pakistani authorities launched repeated anti-polio drives in high-risk areas.

Well being groups gained entry to previously hostile areas within the north-west after the Pakistani army launched a 2014 offensive towards the Taliban in North Waziristan.

Assaults on well being employees have dropped since then, though they nonetheless stay a menace.

Islamist militants oppose vaccination, saying it’s a Western conspiracy to sterilise Pakistani kids.

In April seven policemen, three guarding polio employees, had been killed in Karachi. A January bomb assault on a vaccination centre in Quetta killed 15 individuals.

Pakistan recorded greater than 300 polio circumstances in 2014, its highest quantity since 1999. The variety of circumstances fell to 52 final 12 months.

What’s polio?

Polio (poliomyelitis) is a extremely infectious illness attributable to a virus which invades the nervous system. It primarily impacts kids aged beneath 5.

Signs embody fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness within the neck and limb ache.

One in 200 infections results in irreversible paralysis, and between 5-10% of those that endure paralysis die as a result of their respiratory muscle groups are immobilised.

Circumstances have fallen dramatically since polio eradication programmes had been launched; from 350,000 globally in 1988 to round 70 in 2015.

Polio stays endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, however Nigeria was faraway from the checklist in October after a 12 months with no new circumstances.