How to eradicate polio from Pakistan: By Khurram Zia Khan
Polio is a viral disease which may affect the spinal cord causing muscle weakness and paralysis. The polio virus enters the body through the mouth, usually from hands contaminated with the stool of an infected person. Polio is more common in infants and young children and occurs under conditions of poor hygiene. Paralysis is more common and more severe when infection occurs in older individuals. Polio is spread when the stool of an infected person is introduced into the mouth of another person through contaminated water or food (fecal-oral transmission). Oral-oral transmission by way of an infected person's saliva may account for some cases. Maintaining high levels of polio immunization in the society is the most helpful precautionary measure.
Globally a lot of work is being done to eradicate polio from all parts of the world and in most countries of the world no new polio case reported and these countries are now declared polio free. India is a recent example where no new polio case reported last year and World Health Organization is considering declaring India polio free country.
This is good news for the region and now its Pakistan’s turn to get serious for the eradication of this menace from the country. Polio is an epidemic and its virus travel fast so a patient suffering from polio is hazardous for the surroundings also. For the long term safety of India from this endemic, it is advisable that government of India also cooperate with Pakistan for polio’s eradication. Now that we have given them MFN status so along with business we should work jointly for a polio free Pakistan in coming years. On Pakistan’s part, we should work with honesty & try to remove all the misgivings about polio drops prevailing in the society and make sure that teams administering the process of polio drops reach all parts of the country. A recent statement by Sindh’s provincial health minister highlighted the fact that polio exists in Pakistan because children are undernourished. This is sad state of affairs and clear failure of our governments past & present and also of other relevant agencies. A country which is the fifth largest milk producer in the world, one of the largest exporter of rice and also self sufficient in many other agriculture products can’t even feed its nation properly.
Polio is eradicated in most of the countries now. It only exists in 5 countries of the world and sadly Pakistan is one of them.
A number of global organizations are making efforts to eradicate polio from Pakistan. An example of this support is Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Japan will provide 4.9billion yen ($65million) loan to support polio eradication activities in Pakistan through 2013.The loan will repaid by the Gates foundation if the project finances are successfully implemented by the government of Pakistan. This itself a very good initiative one which should be taken seriously and worked upon in a proper manner as successful implementation can be doubly beneficial for the people of Pakistan.
Pakistan is a country of 180million where as India’s population is in excess of 1 billion. We as a nation need to take this as a challenge and cohesively work on war footings for polio eradication.
Following are the steps I recommend to overcome & eradicate polio from Pakistan
1) 1) The 5 countries where polio exists all have low per capita income so we need serious efforts in increasing the per capita income of our people
2) 2) Proper food to be provided to the children so as to give every child nutritious diet
3) 3) School food programs to be introduced in the schools operating in rural areas. Not only these programs introduced but they also be monitored strictly to enhance children’s nutritional level
4) 4) It should be made mandatory for members of legislative bodies to make serious effort s in their respective areas for polio’s eradication and some months if a polio case detected in a constituency then membership of that legislator be temporary suspended for
5) 5) Task of administering polio drops be given to trained personnel
6) 6) Free access be provided to teams in all cities & villages around the country
7) 7) Media should be used extensively to create awareness about the need of giving polio drops to children of ages 5 year and less
8) 8) Special incentives be given to people of those districts where no polio case reported for a considerable duration
9) 9) Experience of those NGOs be utilized who worked successfully to eradicate polio in certain areas of the country.
1010) Services of area elders & spiritual persons be sought to remove misunderstanding about polio drops
1 11) Modern methods for example injections are used in administrating polio vaccination to children.
I am a public relations consultant residing in Karachi. I like to monitor the issues pertaining to health. Education, poverty etc being faced by the society and try to highlight them.
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