Pakistan would be in dire situation, if measures not taken to eradicate Polio in next six months: IMB

If Pakistan does not make fruitful changes to eradicate Poliovirus in next six months, the situation would become dire, notes the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB). Citing modelling data, the report notes that Pakistan is at the risk of wild poliovirus cases reaching 500 by end of 2020 and vaccine-derived poliovirus cases reaching 1,000.

The 18th report of the IMB, which comprises global experts, is hopeful that Pakistan still has a chance to root out the crippling disease.

“Unless renewed, well-planned and sustained polio vaccination is resumed for the remainder of 2020, the consequences of the inevitable large outbreaks of both kinds of poliovirus will be dire for Pakistan, Afghanistan and probably other countries as well,” it adds.

The situation is “extremely worrying” as the outbreak of the poliovirus spreads to previously polio-free areas in the country.

At the moment, there is no focal person to the prime minister for polio eradication, after the departure of Babar bin Atta in October. Another setback to the program, notes the report comes from the absence of political unity.

At the November 2019 meeting, Dr Mirza had announced that he would bring all political parties and interests together for regular meetings at the national level. However, later the doctor told the Board that no formal meeting of this kind had yet taken place by explaining that there had been a change in his approach to engaging with the political leadership. Instead of having big meetings, he was working with them at a more personal level ‘behind the scenes’, the report states.

“This sends a confusing message about the government’s ability and determination to create an unambiguous and non-partisan commitment to everything necessary for success in polio eradication.”

Source: Geo TV