The World Health Organization (WHO) has pressed an alarm bell claiming that Pakistan’ KPK province’ capital Peshawar is the epic center of endemic polio virus in the world. This is an emergency situation, requiring unprecedented actions, not merely rhetoric or blame game to combat the menace which has been eradicated worldwide except in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria is a serious matter.
We all know what’s the real issue, the Taliban and their ideological supporters are convinced that in the long run polio vaccination will lead to reproduction capability issues. They have been using different excuses, as echoed by their supporters in media and religious parties, to justify the ban on vaccination such as asking for drone strikes to be stopped, Dr Shakil Afridi to be punished for assisting in OBL elimination and so on and so forth. Health workers have been repeatedly killed all over the country.
I believe it’s time for federal and provincial governments and army to declare ‘enough is enough’. We have to run the anti-polio campaign on war footing persistent and repeated vaccination of children and at same time efforts to improve the sanitation conditions in the old Peshawar city and Afghan refugee’s camps which are playing a major role in sustaining a strain of disease. We neither want to be blamed for resurgence of this deadly virus in the world nor want travel ban and other restrictions due to follies of a few.
Bangladesh used religious leaders to convince general public of importance of vaccination; regrettably our local religious leaders are not that helpful. Taliban and their supporters need to understand that had the Pakistani government (read the West) want to sterilize the Muslim children, they could have used other commonly available means such as drinking water supplies, edible salt, flour which are consumed in bulk not medication!.
Saudi Arab, January 18