One million Pakistani children miss polio vaccination

October 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".

Data obtained by AFP showed that some 998,569 children of the 32 million targeted during the three-day nationwide drive, backed by the government and World Health Organization, were left unvaccinated against the crippling disease.

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 hepatitis vaccination programme, leading the Taliban to ban immunisation in some areas.

WHO Senior Coordinator for Polio Vaccination Dr. Elias Durry said the huge number of missed children was a "cause of concern".

"While we can celebrate the achievement of vaccinating millions of children during every polio campaign, finding and vaccinating the repeatedly missed children should be the top priority of all the polio teams across the country."

Government health officials said that most of the one million children remained unvaccinated because of access issues, unrest in southwestern Baluchistan province and flooding in many parts of southern Sindh province.

They added many parents in militancy-hit northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa still view immunisation as a "conspiracy."

In less turbulent areas, health workers failed to carry-out follow up visits or make enough effort to visit houses "far away".

Unknown gunmen on Tuesday killed a polio vaccinator in the Killi Jeo area of Baluchistan's capital Quetta, a day after the campaign kicked off, senior government official Tariq Mengal told AFP.

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.

Explore further: Polio campaign troubles imperil 350,000 Pakistan children

Related Stories

Polio campaign troubles imperil 350,000 Pakistan children

July 16, 2012
Pakistan on Monday postponed a polio immunisation campaign in parts of its tribal belt, jeopardising the health of more than 350,000 children after the Taliban banned inoculations.

UN polio suspension hits 22,000 Pakistan children

August 2, 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.

Pakistan begins anti-pneumonia drive

October 9, 2012
Pakistan on Tuesday launched a drive to vaccinate 5.5 million children against pneumococcal disease to fight pneumonia, which kills tens of thousands of youngsters in the country every year.

Pakistan claims progress in tribal polio vaccination

September 4, 2012
Pakistan Tuesday claimed progress in vaccinating thousands of children against polio in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan which had been inaccessible due to unrest for about three years.

Measles kills 12 children in Pakistan tribal area

May 14, 2012
A measles outbreak has killed 12 children in one of Pakistan's lawless tribal districts and is spreading as fighting, power cuts and curfews cause a vaccine shortage, doctors said Monday.

Afghan polio cases rise, govt appeals to militants

January 17, 2012
Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged insurgents Tuesday to allow health teams to vaccinate children in war-torn parts of the country where cases of polio have risen sharply.

Recommended for you

Decrease in sunshine, increase in Rickets

November 17, 2017
A University of Toronto student and professor have teamed up to discover that Britain's increasing cloudiness during the summer could be an important reason for the mysterious increase in Rickets among British children over ...

Anti-malaria drug shows promise as Zika virus treatment

November 17, 2017
A new collaborative study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and UC San Diego School of Medicine has found that a medication used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective ...

Scientists identify biomarkers that indicate likelihood of survival in infected patients

November 17, 2017
Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease.

Research team unlocks secrets of Ebola

November 16, 2017
In a comprehensive and complex molecular study of blood samples from Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, published today (Nov. 16, 2017) in Cell Host and Microbe, a scientific team led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison has ...

Study raises possibility of naturally acquired immunity against Zika virus

November 16, 2017
Birth defects in babies born infected with Zika virus remain a major health concern. Now, scientists suggest the possibility that some women in high-risk Zika regions may already be protected and not know it.

A structural clue to attacking malaria's 'Achilles heel'

November 16, 2017
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and PATH's Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) have shed light on how the human immune system recognizes the malaria parasite though investigation of antibodies generated ...

0 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.