WEB DESK – According to the World Health Organization (WHO), all of South Asian countries are now polio-free except for ‘the land of pure’ where hardliner outlawed militant groups like Taliban abduct, attack and kill anti-polio campaigners.
According to the latest update from WHO the India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives have been declared polio-free countries. The other Asian countries which recently joined elite health group were South Korea, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and East Timor.
According to WHO, this certification means that now at least 80 percent of the global population live in polio-free zone.
The greatest success story among all these countries was of India.
The only exception in the region of South Asia is now Pakistan that embarked on the anti-polio programme 19 years ago, when the disease used to cripple more than 50,000 children in the country every year, report stated. Until 2009, India still accounted for half of all cases globally. India reported 150,000 cases of paralytic polio in 1985, and 741 new infections that led to paralysis in 2009.
“This achievement has been possible with resolute will at the highest levels, technological innovations like the indigenous bivalent polio vaccine, adequate domestic financial resources and close monitoring of the polio programme, with which immunization levels soared to 99 per cent coverage. A 2.3 million-strong team of polio volunteers and 150,000 supervisors worked day and night to reach every child,” report stated further.
Interestingly, the same anti-polio organizations like WHO, UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have been supporting Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments to eradicate polio in country. However, there is something not right. PakistanTribe had reported stories where anti-polio programmes like Sehat Ka Insaf have been marred with corruption allegations not from the opposition but also from the internal sources of political party which was running the campaign. PakistanTribe also reported several stories where anti-polio workers were either attacked, abducted or killed.