Pakistan could be next in line to eradicate Polio, says the World Health Organization’s (WHO) country director while addressing the audience at Islamabad, on the eve of World Polio Day.
While the news is indeed very welcoming, it arises a Question; why did Pakistan fail to address the Polio crisis when its neighbor India, and countless underdeveloped African countries were able to beat the virus. Well, the answer to this is quite complex just as the task is.
Understanding why Pakistan is behind in its’ fight to eradicate Polio, it’s important to understand a large territory of Pakistan lived in regions where the government had little to no control. It was impossible for the country’s LEA or Law Enforcement Agencies to provide ample security to ensure Polio workers can reach and deliver their duties.
How much has changed, and what the issues are, lets find out:
Military Operations after 9/11 and its Impact on Polio eradication:
The Pakistan Army conducted countless military operations in the lawless or Tribal regions. These regions had a close connection with Afghanistan as they are located on the Border. While the Pakistan Army was able to suppress and gain hold of its’ territory; a lot of time was wasted included precious human lives.
While, today without any doubts, Pakistan has installed its’ writ of the government in these regions’, however, it has not been able to change the mindset of its people. Perhaps, it is again the failure of government and civil society to educate people as to what the Polio-virus is, and why a simple vaccine can save their child from a disabled life.
During the time of insurgency, the Taliban and some Al-Qaeda elements simply banned the vaccine for the local kids. Their massive propaganda against the Polio vaccine spread in different corners of Pakistan. While authorities did seize their “tap-ed” audio messages from going to distant corners of the country however it still managed to cause some damage.