2020 can be termed as the year of our collective failure against poliovirus. The surge in polio cases, nine reported yesterday, shows that the current anti-polio programme is failing. Despite the ongoing and more vigorous vaccination drives, the polio incidents are increasing at an alarming rate. And the recent studies show that the disease has become further entrenched in the country, especially in Punjab. The report is an alarming one as it reports 63 percent positive rate of the environmental samples collected from across the province.

Furthermore, the 25 percent increase compared to the last year in environmental samples show that health officials are not even doing the bare minimum. The rapid rise can cause an outbreak of polio disease in the country. Many believed that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would transform the public health system for the better. However, the government has been unable to control the virus that the rest of the world has destroyed.

Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan needs to revitalise his government’s efforts against the virus in Punjab in particular. Khan’s government must realise that the disease can cripple not our kids but our future as well. And if the situation worsens, the government has no facilities that can provide any relief to the ones affected by the disease. The surge in polio cases and the negligence of the concerned officials demand a comprehensive strategy from the authorities.

It is high time that the government comes up with a plan that not only controls the crippling disease but also eliminates it in future. The debilitating disease, if left unchecked, will inflict more miseries on the government. In other words, we will be essentially condemning our children to a life without a future with our own hands. If the state does not want to reverse the gains and victories made so far, it must act on an emergency basis to destroy all the sewage sites containing poliovirus.