Polio Surges in Pakistan amid Calls for National Vaccination Campaign

Polio Surges in Pakistan amid Calls for National Vaccination Campaign

A surge in the number of cases of the severely debilitating polio disease has brought the number of people infected in Pakistan to 244, following the most recent infection of an 18-month-old girl.

The newest case was discovered and reported in the Killa Abdullah district of Balochistan, according to Pakistan’s internationally-affiliated newspaper The Express Tribune

Sindh government health authorities have launched a national polio campaign, making the vaccine compulsory for all citizens traveling internationally, notes the Express. However, the minister of state for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination reported that merely 29% of the campaign was completed in some districts of the Sindh, Karachi, province. And in other provinces, merely 4% of the campaign was complete. 

In October, Pakistan warned of a record-breaking public health emergency if the number of infections hit the 200-person mark, which would make it the first time in 15 years that such a high number of infections was reached, according to AFP. That threshold was reached on November 5, when five more polio cases were reported. Among those infected were a 12-month-old and an eight-month-old.

The nation has fought hard against Islamic insurgents–such as the Pakistani Taliban and and other militant groups–who, since 2012, have waged a brutal war against health workers, following the discovery that the CIA was involved in a vaccination campaign, aided by a Pakistani doctor, to find the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. 

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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