Staff member giving polio vaccine to a girl in Islamabad, Pakistan | REUTERS
The Pakistani government began Monday to give polio vaccines to over 38 million children across the country who are under five years old.
The vaccination plan will be finished in four days and will cover all children in the country. Currently, medical staffs are working in all communities to give vaccines.
Preventing the transmission of polio has become an important work of Pakistan’s health care system. Usually, each community will be sent five medical groups, and each of the groups comprises two staffs. In order to communicate with children easily, most of the medical staff members are women.
“In this area, more than 1,000 children in over 800 households will be vaccinated. We are also working in many schools nearby, and going to give vaccines to more than 1,000 students in schools and other children in this community,” said Nusrat, the officer in charge of a vaccination team.
In recent years, Pakistan has made significant progress in the eradication of polio, with the number of infected children declining nationwide year on year. The annual number of children hit by polio in the country was 306 in 2014, 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and only three in 2017, according to the Ministry of Health of Pakistan.
“I think it’s a very good news for Pakistan and for the rest of the world that polio is getting eradicated from this country. For the future we have very robust programs, we will be going moving forward and making this history in world for eradication of polio from this country,” said Hasan Orooj, chief of the Health Bureau in Islamabad.
Although Pakistan is still one of the few countries in the world with polio epidemic, Pakistan has nearly eradicated polio by organizing 8 to 9 times of extensive vaccination each year.
Polio is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5 percent of cases, there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. In those with muscle weakness, about 2 to 5 percent of children and 15 to 30 percent of adults die. Another 25 percent of people have minor symptoms such as fever and a sore throat and up to 5 percent have headache, neck stiffness and pains in the arms and legs. — Reuters