Pakistan’s Fight Against Polio Affected By Ignorance And Misinformation

As we know, Pakistan has been fighting against the disease for over a decade. However, we still encounter a new controversy about the anti-polio campaign every once in a while. Previously, these controversies were hard to propagate but now with such an outspread tool like social media, making something go viral is just a matter of few shares.

The False Rumors About The Polio Vaccination

There were some stories stirred up by some clerics that the polio vaccine campaign is part of Western plot to make Muslims sterile. How unbelievable can people be to make up such stories at the cost of lives of the future of our country?

Well the people have been feeling so vulnerable at the hands of West that they are willing to believe anything. Hence, believing the story puddled by clerics a resistance was observed in the people against the polio campaign.

Due to this false rumor, thousands of children were left unvaccinated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against this paralyzing disease which could even lead to death. Only because their families were infused with the lie about the vaccine.

Anyhow, an inquiry was run to find out the origin of the rumor. It was found that two schools in Peshawar were responsible for the constant refusal of people to health workers against the vaccine.

No Action Taken After Arrests

The sad part is there were no actions taken to punish the culprits.

A man was also identified and arrested in the case of infusing misleading lies in the mind of people via a video where he was telling some children to pose unconscious after having the vaccine. This video had gone viral on the internet for days manipulating people with lies.

The arrest did not lead to any further actions as the man was spared after mild

16 more men were arrested in the allegation of threatening the vaccination team openly on the streets. However, these men were also left unpunished, setting no example for other people who are thinking of spreading a similar fallacy.

The militant groups are running errands and since 2012, uptil now they have killed around hundreds of health workers along with the guards meant to protect them. On their assumption that they might be spying on them on orders of West. Their suspicion traces back from the tactics used by US to trace Osama Bin Laden.

In the recent past, a medical worker and two policemen guarding the vaccination teams were shot dead at the hands of militants in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Awareness Campaigns By The Government

The government of Pakistan has been driving awareness campaigns of polio for people on every platform and level. The public somehow still tends to believe the false rumors instead of the message being conveyed to them by the government.

Even Muslim religious leaders are recruited to reassure people of the one true reason behind these polio vaccinations. But the suspicion of the public still not ready to go away.

Is it because of the lenient handling of the misinformation? Do we have any strategy to deal with these kind of situation in the future or are we just going to keep sacrificing more lives?

Polio Has Been Dealt With Globally Except Three Countries – One Of Three Is Pakistan

The global campaign against polio have been a success only 33 polio cases were reported in 2018. Unfortunate for us, mostly were from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Risk of polio’s spread doesn’t die until all the countries in the world are immune to it. Even if a single child grows up infected with it even the polio-free countries remain prone to it.

Pakistan has been striving against polio and has remained a relatively successful with every passing year. But we still remain on of the three countries – the other two are Nigeria and Afghanistan – where polio is still affecting children at full-strength.

In the current drive officials had to say that they succeeded in immunating 37.6 million children. 1.4 however, are still in a vulnerable state, walking unprotected.

The government is still responsible to save those left out 1.4 from the suffering and ill-fate.

Our fight is against the prevailing ignorance and putting a stop to the sources of misinformation that is jeopardising the system.

Precious lives of our health workers and policemen are at risk. Thousands of children are unprotected against the life-threatening disease. Government has to take a step forward in taking strict legal actions for the safety of Pakistan’s future.

The Stance Of PTI Government Against Polio

According to PTI-led government significant progress is being made in the eradication of polio from the country. They are positive that the country is shifting to a better place concerning the vaccination campaign as in the current 3-day polio drive there haven’t been any reported incident regaring threats to the lives of health workers and it was successfully started right on schedule.

“This is the first step in New Pakistan’s journey of change,” said Babar bin Atta, the Focal Person to Imran Khan.

PTI government is dedicatedly providing support to the Polio Eradication Initiative. As the programme is of national interest they are ensuring satisfactory conduct of the drive in secured environment, added Babar.

They are targeting to achieve their goal without making any arrests of the resisting parents. He urged media, religious organisations and civil societies to play their part in making it successful he said that they need to create awareness that the vaccine is safe.

Further explaining the strategy of PTI-government he said that it is decided that Youtube and Facebook will be reached out in a bid to take-off any video being used to spread anti-vaccine propaganda and misleading materials affecting the campaign.

Despite the challenges being faced in the polio eradication campaign, the government is doing all the efforts to stop virus transmission.

On the successful run of the campaign Babar expressed satisfaction and said that the campaign went well and positive results will be observed by the end of October.

He also claimed that, soon Pakistan would be declared as a polio-free country, he added.

What else should Pakistan do to make the campaigns successful? Leave a comment and let us know.

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