Pakistan to become polio-free by next year, President

President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday said Pakistan was expected to become a polio-free country by next year as the number of reported cases had been reduced to just four this year against hundreds in the past.
Talking to media persons after launching the three-day nationwide anti-polio campaign, he said all the vaccination teams deserved applause who have been serving to purge the country of this deadly virus despite life threat in certain areas.
The president was accompanied by Minister for National Health Amir Kayani, representatives of international organisations including World Health Organisation and Unicef besides senior government officers.
Dr Alvi urged the people to extend all out support to the vaccination teams so that the country could get rid of the disease. He also asked the religious scholars to play their due role to nullify the misconceptions regarding the polio vaccine.
The president lauded the role of security agencies who have been providing security cover to the vaccination teams.
In 2014, 306 polio cases had been reported, 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and 8 in 2017. In 2018, only four polio cases have been reported so far from two districts three from Dukki area of Balochistan and one from Charsadda.
The three-day drive would target a total of 38.6 million children aged below five including 19.22 million in Punjab, 8.88m in Sindh, 6.75 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including tribal districts), 2.5 million in Balochistan, 0.7 million in AJK, 0.237 million in GB and 0.33 million children in Islamabad.
During this campaign, Vitamin-A supplement will also be administered to around 35 million children aimed at boosting immunity against all infectious diseases including measles. A total of 260,000 security personnel would strive to achieve the set targets across Pakistan.