ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday expressed his determination to eradicate the polio virus from Pakistan.
He took to Twitter to share his thoughts on World Polio Day, which is being observed on October 24 and tweeted: “Our government is fully committed to ending polio in Pakistan. On #WorldPolioDay, I am confident, together with our people, we will achieve a safer, healthier and polio-free Pakistan for our children.”
Our government is fully committed to ending polio in Pakistan. On #WorldPolioDay, I am confident, together with our people, we will achieve a safer, healthier and polio-free Pakistan for our children.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 24, 2018
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling childhood disease, affecting mostly children under the age of five caused by the poliovirus has no cure and can only be prevented by giving a child multiple vaccine doses.
According to the WHO, the number of polio cases worldwide has fallen by more than 99 per cent since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases than to 22 reported cases in 2017.
Pakistan is one of the only three countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, that suffers from polio and has been battling polio for the past several years.
The number of cases declined from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and eight in 2017.
In 2018, six polio cases have been reported so far.
According to the World Health Organisation, a country must have no cases for three consecutive years in order to be considered to have eradicated polio.
Babar Atta, focal person to the prime minister on polio eradication said that the government is committed to eradicating the virus and said that one of the reasons behind the spread of the virus is travel.
Citing Afghanistan as an example, he noted that 16 cases of polio have been reported in the country this year and since Pakistan shares a border with Afghanistan, it can be challenging to prevent the spread of the virus.