Fall in polio vaccination refusal cases in Pakistan

Pakistan has witnessed a sharp drop in the number of families refusing to get their children vaccinated against polio, officials said Monday, while lamenting that nearly half a million children were left unvaccinated.

"The number of refusing families has declined (44 percent) from 80,330 during the first national round held in January to 45,122 in October," the , the UN and the government said in a joint statement.

Around 32 million children were targeted during the three-day nationwide drive last week, backed by the government and WHO.

Prayer leaders from mosques' have been telling parents not to give polio vaccine to their children, dubbing the campaign a Western "conspiracy" to reduce the population of Muslims.

Earlier this year, a Pakistani doctor was jailed for helping the CIA track down Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in 2011 using a fake vaccination programme, leading the Taliban to ban immunisation in some areas.

"The success achieved notwithstanding, every unvaccinated child constitutes a major challenge," said Elias Durry, a senior coordinator for at WHO.

"It is a cause of grave concern that polio teams across the country have still missed 484,344 children during the last polio round," Durry said.

He expressed concern over polio teams "persistently missing the same children that have remained unvaccinated for the last many campaigns".

Shahnaz Wazir Ali, a senior adviser to the prime minister, called for reaching out to the children who could not be given drops during the latest campaign.

"We need to take adequate steps to ensure that the number of children missed for reasons other than refusals is also brought down," she said.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where the highly infectious crippling disease remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria.

There have been 30 confirmed cases of polio in Pakistan this year according to the government, 22 of them in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Related Stories

One million Pakistani children miss polio vaccination

date Oct 17, 2012

Almost one million Pakistani children were left out of a polio vaccination drive which ended Wednesday, officials said, as unrest and flooding limited access and some parents viewed the campaign as a Western "conspiracy".

UN polio suspension hits 22,000 Pakistan children

date Aug 02, 2012

Around 22,000 Pakistani children are at risk in Karachi after the World Health Organization suspended polio vaccinations over a spate of bloody shootings, a UN official warned Thursday.

Polio eradication hinges on four countries

date Oct 13, 2006

Successfully global eradication of polio depends four countries' efforts to vaccinate children, the Swiss-based Advisory Committee on Polio Eradication said.

Recommended for you

Footpaths and parks support active school commute

date 9 hours ago

While it probably won't make the idea of attending school more appealing social scientists say different infrastructure and behaviour change programs are key to encouraging young people to take a more active ...

Food barometer measures a population’'s eating habits

date 10 hours ago

A survey by Taylor's-Toulouse University Centre (TTUC) is collecting data on the food habits of individuals and how their choices are related to modernisation and other social factors. Results show that almost ...

Who you gonna call? Beijing smokebusters to go on patrol

date 15 hours ago

China's capital seeks to snuff out smoking in indoor public places on Monday with a new ban, unprecedented fines and a hotline to report offenders, but enforcement is doubtful in one of the world's most tobacco-addicted countries.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.