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Fake Markers Risk Pakistan’s Anti Polio Efforts

Pakistan`s polio eradication program has faced some severe problems in the recent past. As the number of reported cases rise mainly in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, issues arise with the quality of vaccination and level of awareness pertaining to the crippling disease.

It is pertained to mention here that Pakistan is one of the three countries where the virus is still prevalent, the other two include neighboring Afghanistan and Nigeria.

As the number of cases plummeted in the last two years, this year with almost seven months underway, 41 cases have been reported. 33 of those hail from KP. In many parts of KP and across the country as well, families resent when they see polio campaigns making rounds time and again.

Dawn quotes Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication Babar Bin Atta who commented upon the prevalent situation.

“We need to take the bull by the horns and accept there are problems.”

Resistance to Polio Campaign

The resentment from the majority of KP and Tribal Areas comes from the rumors that were circulated almost a decade ago by the terror networks operating in the region. The said rumor was regarding the polio vaccine (OPV), militants claimed that certain hormones were added into the vaccine to make Muslim children sterile.

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According to Dawn, local police officials believe that in order to avoid polio drops in question, parents are getting hold of special markers.

“They themselves would mark the fingers of their children, in case of an official visit to countercheck the vaccinated children,” one official associated with an international organization told Reuters in Peshawar.

The so-called finger marking might temper with the refusal figures which may go up to as much as 8 percent. The resistance towards the anti-polio campaign has resorted to propaganda by those who resent it.

It was in April 2019 when a series of videos pertaining to the polio vaccine went viral on social media, the man in the video alleged that the said vaccine causes children to faint and die subsequently.

However, in another video, the man was seen instructing children to act as fainted on his queue.

Although the officials believe that the incumbent efforts might keep the disease at bay, it won’t be able to eradicate polio from Pakistan.

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