Today entire world is free of polio except these three countries which are Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria this article would be focused on why Pakistan and Afghanistan are not yet polio free. Despite highly funded polio vaccine campaigns around the world Pakistan is considered to be exporter of wild poliovirus (WVP) due to highest number of polio outbreaks. Polio is an extremely contagious virus which requires high immunisation coverage everywhere. Inspite of various undertaking of plans to eradicate the virus many children are seen to be missing out on vaccination because of several reasons such as remote locations, population movement, lack of infrastructure and resistance to vaccination. Political unrest is pretty evident in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Poor health infrastructure and government negligence are also the contributing factors. weakened health systems due to poor lifestyles or livelihoods are equally responsible for the same. Prolonged conflicts and political instability due to various reasons are also the cause for polio not being completely wiped out. Cases in Afghanistan tripled to 56 between 2018 and 2020. Militant organisations such as the Tehreek- a-Taliban Pakistan, Al Qaeda and Boko Haram movement of northern Nigeria are a major hindrance or obstacle in eradication of polio from these countries.
There are also certain prevailing misconceptions about the vaccines and insecurities, especially not up to the mark healthcare systems are causing the delay in complete eradication of this deadly virus. Though both the countries have come a long way owing to frequent campaigns and spreading awareness there are still some efforts which need to be taken to reach the aim of polio free woworld. The world polio eradication initiative which started in 1988,the number of polio cases have been reduced up to 99% worldwide until now. Polio still continues to be a threat because it is highly infectious hence all countries need to remain on alert and ready to respond to any outbreak effectively.Pakistan had 91 cases of polio as of November 26, 2019 not only have we had a major outbreak in Khyber pakhtunkhwa but all other provinces in Pakistan have also reported multiple cases, in 2018 there were twelve cases and in 2017 only eight cases. Multiple explanations have been put forward from national elections transition of government. Underlying issues of community distrust of vaccinations to negligence of key staff. The field mission of the technical advisory group on polio eradication stated in 2019 that the Pakistan programme is on a failing trajectory putting the rest of the global programme at risk. Pakistan has not improved since the gains achieved in 2017 and the programme in Pakistan is stalling. What we need in Pakistan and Afghanistan is to accept that polio eradication is not solely the domain of international agencies the government of Pakistan also need to take ownership. Polio isn’t a priority for the Taliban or many local residents in Afghanistan.
The government along with UNICEF and other aid agencies is attempting to find new ways to gain access to Taliban areas. The polio transmission has never been stopped in the Afghan-Pakistan region you and UNICEF’s Mohammed says the hope is that children will get vaccinated for polio and measles and other preventable diseases through some new basic health services.