LAHORE - Like other parts of the globe, World Polio Day will be observed across the country including Lahore today to commemorate the fight against poliomyelitis and pay tribute to Jonas Salk, American medical researcher and virologist who led the first team that developed a vaccine against the crippling virus.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries battling polio now with Nigeria making considerable progress towards polio free status.

Adviser to Chief Minister on Health Kh Salman Rafiq said, “Polio has been declared a national emergency and a dedicated team of professionals in the Emergency Operation Center in the provincial health directorate is working to achieve the dream of polio eradication.”

Salman said that Punjab has made serious progress over the last two years and with other variables in control, polio eradication may well be in sight in the next one year. Punjab has had no polio cases in year 2016, he added. “In 2014, Punjab accounted for just four cases out of a total of 306 in the country. In 2015, there were two cases in Punjab out of country total of 54 and this year we have had no case.”

With use of android-based tailor-made application E-vaccs with support from the PITB, the Punjab province has been able to boost its routine immunisation to 86 per cent from mid 50s within a year, according to the health adviser. “Punjab is making all out efforts to implement the National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication.”