July 22, 2019
Latest News

Pakistan finds itself unable to eradicate polio

 A healthcare worker administers the vaccine against poliomielitis to a child in Karachi, Pakistan, June 19, 2019. EFE-EPA/SHAHZAIB AKBER

A healthcare worker administers the vaccine against poliomielitis to a child in Karachi, Pakistan, June 19, 2019. EFE-EPA/SHAHZAIB AKBER

Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Jun 25 (efe-epa).- Pakistan has been unable to defeat polio so far and is losing the battle against this virus as 27 cases reported in 2019, which is more than the combined figures of the previous two years.

The number of cases has compelled the country to take a softer approach in convincing parents of the necessity of immunizing their children.

In Mal Godam, a shanty town in the city Rawalpindi, which neighbors the capital Islamabad, Sumaira Gul goes door to door asking if there are any children in the house and asks to give the vaccine drops to children younger than five. It prevents the spread of this disease through food and contaminated water.

The majority of parents allow the medical workers to vaccinate their children but a few reject the measure.

The slum is located on the banks of a dirty river that is full of plastic – an ideal environment for polio.

Gul is a part of a special immunization campaign in areas where polio cases have been reported recently. The campaign seeks to administer polio drops to 12 million children in 67 districts within three days in a country with a population of 207 million.

In one of the houses, a father said that his children were not present and shut the door. Gul, 42, will return after the three-day campaign is over to try to persuade him.

It could have been worse. The social worker said that residents will sometimes unleash dogs to chase the immunization team away.

"Some people say give us food our children are dying of hunger or medicines for our children. Why you always come to vaccinate our children?" Gul, whose work is also to convince the parents to have their children vaccinated, told Efe.

Refusal from parents is the primary reason that the disease has not yet been eradicated from the country.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria are the only nations where poliomyelitis continues to be endemic.

Ending polio in these three countries would, therefore, mean ending polio on a global scale.

In Pakistan, the campaign against polio began in 1994 and its progression has since collided then with the mistrust of many Pakistanis who believe that vaccinating contravenes the teachings of Islam, leads to infertility and is a campaign of the West to terminate Muslims.

In 2017, eight cases of polio were reported in the country, 12 in 2018 and 27 up to now in 2019, a setback that led to the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization to confirm in May that the campaign in Pakistan was not progressing as planned.

The WHO cited the presence of the virus in residual waters and the increasing refusal of the parents and communities to have their children vaccinated as the main cause of the increase in infections.

The immunization against polio is undergoing a crisis.

In late April, a rumor spread that the vaccines caused many children to fall sick, leading to thousands of parents taking as much as 25,000 children to a hospital in Peshawar.

The crowd ended up setting fire to an area of the hospital before it was dispersed by the police.

Following the incident, several attacks against the immunization teams have caused the death of six people, both vaccinators and police agents.

With rumor-spreading rampant on social media, the number of unvaccinated children has gone up from 180,000 to 2 million.

The Pakistan prime minister’s focal person on for the eradication of polio, Babar Atta, has suggested that changes be made in the immunization strategy given the current situation.

"Less coercion, we are trying to convince parents. No police, no police cases against parents who refuse," Atta told Efe.

Atta said that they have the support of Facebook, Google and Twitter to stop the spread of rumors against the vaccination, which incite violence against the teams and propagate malicious information.

He added that he believes that with this new strategy, they will be able to convince more parents and will be able to stop violent incidents.

Despite the strategy, a vaccinator was shot dead during a campaign in Balochistan province, but Atta said that a police investigation did not link polio with that particular death.

"At the end of the year we will see a massive decline in infections," said Babar, who believes that the new strategy will pay off and Pakistan will finally beat polio.

aa-jlr/sk/jt/dl

News history

By María Rodríguez

Tame elephants mediate between humans, wild elephants in Indonesia's Aceh

By Ricardo Perez-Solero,

Buddhist novices perform rituals in mass ordination ceremony

Thai and foreign Buddhist devotees took part in several rituals Saturday as part of a mass ordination ceremony at Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple on the...

Princess Mako honors memory of Japanese who died in Bolivia

Okinawa I, Bolivia, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Princess Mako of Japan honored this Friday the memory of her migrant compatriots who died in Bolivia at a monument in...

Indonesia to close Komodo Island to protect indigenous dragons

Jakarta, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Komodo Island, a popular tourist destination and home to the world’s largest lizards, will close in 2020 in a bid to protect its...

First library seeks to bring change to Pakistani gun-making town

By Jaime Leon

Indonesian Hindus flock to Mt. Bromo volcano for soul-cleansing

Tenggerese Hindus gathered on top of Mount Bromo, an active volcano in East Java, Indonesia, for a purification ritual.

KLM diktat to cover up while breastfeeding in flights causes global outrage

The Hague, Netherlands, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- Dutch airline KLM is facing a storm of criticism for asking mothers to cover up while breastfeeding their babies...

Recruiting armies of bugs to chomp back Florida's invasive plants

By Ana Mengotti

DR Congo vaccinates Goma to curb Ebola expansion

Kinshasa, July 17 (efe-epa).- The Democratic Republic of Congo is planning to vaccinate about 100 people in the northeastern city of Goma who had contact...

US judge denies bail to church leader accused of child rape, pornography

Los Angeles, USA, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- The leader of the so-called "Luz del Mundo" ("Light of the World") church will remain imprisoned in a United States...

Dried-up Aculeo Lagoon shows the woes of climate change in Chile

By Alberto Peña

By Nerea González

Trump doubles down on tweets against Democratic congresswomen

By Lucia Leal.

Residents of historic Panama neighborhood fight gentrification

By Maria M.Mur.

National health alert in Philippines after over 450 dengue deaths

Manila, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Philippines on Monday declared a national alert due to a dengue outbreak, with over 106,630 cases recorded in the first half of...

San Juan Parangaricutiro, Mexico's Pompeii buried by Paricutin volcano

By Manuel Soberanes Cobo

The Japanese island in the heart of South America

By Gina Baldivieso

More and more reports of sexual abuse against minors in Panama

By Ana de Leon

Protesters in US urge end to migrant detention centers

By Laura Barros

US lawmakers spotlight conditions for migrant kids detained on the border

Washington, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- With fear of the guards, feeling ill, with little sleep and no soap in sight, so the hours go by for thousands of children...

Japanese government apologizes for discriminating against lepers for decades

Tokyo, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The prime minister of Japan on Friday apologized to leprosy patients and their families who suffered discrimination and isolation...

Trump gives up on adding citizenship question to 2020 Census

Washington, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Thursday abandoned his bid to have a question about citizenship added to the 2020 US Census,...

Pelosi says Trump is terrorizing immigrants with threat of raids

Washington, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- The speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said Thursday that President Donald Trump's threats to round-up...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.