Pakistan is still battling the poliovirus and is one of the two countries in the world where the virus still exists. Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has announced the launch of the government’s polio eradication efforts, which aims to vaccinate around 39.6 million children by around 260,000 vaccinators. While the focus is on getting the maximum children vaccinated, and the PM has requested parents to approach vaccination centres in case anyone is missed out, it is going to be especially challenging for the government to eradicate the virus along with vaccinating children because the main criticism of the previous government by the current one was that they have not worked to eradicate the virus itself.

During the government of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), the polio eradication programme was able to bring down numbers of polio cases. According to research, there were only 2 polio cases reported back in 2017 and the World Bank was hopeful that Pakistan will be able to eradicate the virus, especially after the government decided to penalise those parents who refused to vaccinate their children. It is important that the government tackles misconceptions regarding polio vaccination so that the lives of the polio workers are not endangered.

There is a need to coordinate with private practitioners to encourage parents to vaccinate their children because the problem of misconceptions is not just limited to far off areas. Educated parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children, and such decisions should not go unnoticed. Pakistan needs to be in the list of countries that are taking strides to improve health conditions. With the influx of several viruses, Pakistan still battling poliovirus shows that the health sector needs reforms and resources in order to improve the conditions.

The three-day drive starting on December 16, should be followed by public awareness campaigns so that the masses are aware of the drive and can themselves act as facilitators in order to help the government achieve its goal. The benefit at this time is that winters help weaken the virus, so it is important for all stakeholders to play their part. The security of the polio workers needs to be ensured so that they do not lose their lives in the line of duty, and polio vaccination can become common. If we achieve this goal, it can significantly improve Pakistan’s international standing.