It seems as though Pakistan cannot catch a break as the country goes through one health crisis after the other. We have not even crafted a substantial strategy against Cholera and now, the re-emergence of polio is upon our heads. The third case of the water-borne disease was reported in North Waziristan, signaling a slow yet steady increase in the region.
One may question why the contamination has not been taken care of yet and why there seem to be countless reports alleging that fake finger marking is being carried out by polio workers. Only a few years ago we were celebrating a polio-free year and now, we have virtually reversed all progress.
Apparently, polio is spreading around North Waziristan through one contaminated water resource—a pond—that should have been taken care of by now. Three may seem like an insignificant number right now but we must be mindful of the severity of the disease as well as its high transmission rates. Plus, let us not forget that it often results in innocent toddlers being completely paralysed. We may only be in the single-digit phase right now but it may only be a matter of time before the virus transmits itself. Our counter-measures must be reinforced because as it stands right now, they are ineffective.
The problem largely lies with the mindset of the people that continue to condemn vaccines. This explains why polio workers are still experiencing backlash when travelling off to far flung places to give polio drops to children. Out of the fear of their lives, and to rid themselves of the endless ridicule they face, they wrongfully mark fingers while counting those vaccinated. This inflates vaccination rates but allows the virus to thrive unreported. Surely by now we should have come to a point where superstitious beliefs about vaccines cease to exist but alas, the majority of the population still resist them. This is a problem that must be tackled from the grass-root level because otherwise, there will not be a polio-free Pakistan.