Thank you, polio workers

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One rare good piece of news coming from Pakistan was that it made significant progress on polio eradication in the last one year. The immense success over a period of last one year was not picked by our sensation-savvy media. In the year 2015, Pakistan reported a total of 52 polio cases, falling from 306 in the 2014. This is a success of great proportions and for this we must say “Thank you” to polio workers and program teams.

More than 350 polio workers have lost their lives to this national cause and they continue to face this. Two weeks ago a blast in Quetta just reflected that polio is as much, if not less, as important as terrorism. The polio workers deserve all the accolades from the Pakistanis. Hats off to you, polio workers.

Punjab was most successful in 2015. In 2015, Punjab reported two polio cases from country’s total of 52. In 2014 Punjab had reported four cases out of country total of 306. This is a remarkable achievement given the nature and epidemiology of the disease.

Pakistan has remained in the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the last decade and polio has been one of them. With this progress there is a hope that Pakistan will be able to eradicate polio and exclude its name from the list.

The challenges remain. Except seven top districts in Punjab with above 90 per cent routine immunisation coverage, the remaining Punjab has a long distance to go. Staff accountability and movement of population from KP and FATA poses a challenge of its own. The transit points for inter provincial movements have not given the results they were expected. The government needs to stay focused on polio.

Thank you, polio workers.

ANAM SAIRAH KHAN

Lahore

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