The first half of 2019 has seen a sudden rise in polio cases. So far, a total of 41 polio cases have been reported across the countries. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) remains the most affected province as 25 cases of polio have surface there till this day. According to polioeradication.org, “Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world with on-going wild poliovirus transmission, alongside Afghanistan and Nigeria.” The latest revelation of the new leadership of the polio eradication program that data manipulation to show better performance is the reason for Pakistan not becoming free of poliovirus.

 The fact that the workers manipulated data without any check from the higher authorities shows the communication gap between them. Moreover, the lethargy of the provincial health authorities is another reason for the sudden rise in polio cases. They did not take any preventive actions even after Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme detected poliovirus in the sewage of at least ten cities in January this year. And small surprise that most of the reported cases also surfaced in those ten cities. While the focal person tries to exonerate the present government by blaming data manipulation and attempts to control the virus rather than eradicating it, what did the incumbent government do all this time?

Moreover, many parents’ attitude towards polio vaccination is indeed problematic. They do not allow their children to be vaccinated, especially in the KP where people do not shy from harassing and beating polio workers. But why do they refuse their kids to be vaccinated is the question worth asking. Many conspiracy theories against the polio vaccine, which are circulating in the country, deter people from vaccinating their children. It is good that the government is running a new awareness campaign to highlight the importance of vaccination. However, taking religious scholars on board for awareness campaigns will do the trick as some semi-literate religious charlatans propagated many such theories in the past.