“My fear is that if we don’t take remedial steps to control polio in the tribal areas, we will be faced with international sanctions.”

–Mamnoon Hussain

Mamnoon Hussain, the President of Pakistan, usually stays behind the curtains but for the far reaching epidemic of Polio in Pakistan he chose to speak out, thankfully so. Though his words may have had little impact based on the fact that the Sharif brothers dominate the government and run the show, that is Pakistan, they are important. Polio, a disease that children are more prone to catching, can cause paralysis due to muscle weakness which can occur in the span of a few hours or days. The more horrifying part is that there is no general cure for the disease, instead there are vaccines available that cause the prevention of the disease if given to children during the course of their childhood.

The sudden raise of the number of cases reported placed Pakistan in the international eye due to the fact it was one of the only two countries where the spread of Polio still remained an issue. In 2013, 52 of the 73 cases of polio reported worldwide were from Pakistan. As international pressure grew, the government was forced into action; The Polio Eradication Initiative was established and free vaccines were handed out to civil servants who distributed them to most places in Pakistan, specifically 71.5 million vaccines in KPK, Balochistan, Sindh and FATA. International aid of up to 440 million flooded the country which helped the government allocate a sufficient budget for the provision of the supplies and facilities needed to treat the disease. Over 10.6 million children were vaccinated just in 2016, saving their future from a disease that could have robbed them of their life in less than a month.

If the government was to act as quickly and efficiently in all other matters as it did in the case of the reduction in the number of Polio cases, Pakistan could become a progressive nation that could achieve great things and rid itself of most of the problems that are major setbacks in terms of the development of the country.