Monday , January 18 2021

Pakistan launches vaccination drives in push against polio

More than 270,000 health professionals flew over Pakistan for a five-day drive to vaccinate millions of children against polio, officials said Monday when the country launched a push to eradicate the crime.

The drive will target 40 million children under five years, according to Babar Bin Atta, the prime minister's spokesman for polio relations.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are among only a few countries in the world where polio is still endemic.

However, the UN-funded vaccination campaign has helped Pakistan control the spread. The number of recently hit children fell to only eight so far this year compared to 306 in 2014.

Atta said that the army, police and paramilitary forces provided care to healthcare professionals when administering the vaccine.

The disease that can confuse the children for life is more common in the country's mountainous northwestern region near the Afghan border, which until recently had been controlled by militants associated with al-Qaeda.

The militants have killed a number of health workers and the police guard them because of rumors that the polio vaccine was aimed at making children sterile.

A number of military offenders have been launched against the militants since 2014 to ensure that workers could reach children in previously unavailable areas.

This year four cases were reported in the region, another three in the province of Balochistan and one in the port of Karachi.

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