Monitoring body terms polio in Pakistan ‘political football’

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LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Brin­ging Pakistan’s political issues under discussion at a global health forum for the first time, the International Monitoring Board (IMB) has declared the ‘polio programme and the importance of delivering polio vaccine has become a political football in the country’.

The IMB, which provides an independent assessment of the progress made by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in the detection and interruption of polio transmission globally, sees lack of political unity behind polio resurgence in the country.

“Early in 2018, the Polio Programme in Pakistan believed that it was on the brink of interrupting wild poliovirus transmission. Just over a year later, the epidemiological picture in the country represents a massive reversal of the trajectory to global polio eradication,” says the latest IMB report.

The IMB also expresses serious concern over the September 2019 campaign in which the highest-ever number of missed children in Pakistan were reported. The reports says polio in Pakistan began its resurgence in the third quarter of 2018, and intensified in the second quarter of 2019, with a record number of cases (38) in that quarter alone. This was followed by 30 cases in the third quarter of 2019.

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