Polio in Pakistan: Shame, Threat, Nuisance

Lately there’s been lot of buzzing;

“Polio in Pakistan and WHO’s strict guidelines on Pakistani people travelling abroad.”

Our family is not a T.V centered one. Sometimes the whole week passes by and we don’t turn on the T.V.

We just get the headlines online and I did pass by some news of rising cases of Polio in Pakistan.

But the extent of its seriousness I learnt much later. And so I have categorized this issue under the following headings:-

1. Shame

Out of 196 countries in the world only 3 countries including, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan are the ones still hanging on to Polio, which makes it a percentage of only 1.5%.

Unfortunately we, a much ahead and developing nation as compared to Afghanistan and Nigeria are a part of it.

Disgraceful but its true!

Polio is not AIDS, it’s not SARS, and it’s not a recent complex disease which cannot be prevented. Polio is preventable!

And not some high tech, expensive, unreachable method is needed, its just 2 drops free of cost.

Two drops of life!
And polio vaccines are one of the safest vaccines, without any side effects.

And when the whole world has become a polio free zone, why not us?
We belonging to South Asia, the much awaited new world, the region which has the highest population of youth, and the whole world has its eyes on it. But every time the world looks at us. Polio is the dark and grave image.

Bangladesh and China became polio free much earlier than us and India became polio free in 2011.

With the vaccines provided free of cost by WHO and UN still it’s here and reports say its rising.

And I know all the people who are reading my blog are completely vaccinated and have their children vaccinated and any distant people they know are also vaccinated.
But unfortunately our percentage is very low, and it’s the poor, uneducated, weak who need to be vaccinated.

And what more….
There is a whole movement against the polio eradication by militant groups in Pakistan
Because according to them Polio drops cause impotency!

I’m sorry while writing this post I’m literally clenching my fist with anger, because I want my country to be polio free.

2. Threat

Oh yes Polio is a big threat to all of us.

Do you know how the virus spreads?

Well the main route of transmission is through the feces (polio viruses are found in the feces of an infected person).And although this sounds fairly a not so very scary way because who is touching the feces or has anything to do with it, as compared to when we openly avoid a person with the common cold or flu.

Well, the feces goes into the sewage and sewage water runs through the slums and even just the rivers running around the city and as for Karachi a major part goes into the sea.
And when this contaminated water comes in contact with food or is used to wash utensils then BINGO! it can easily attack the other person.

Even flies can carry the virus if they sit on the stool and then on food.

And polio also spreads via oral to oral transmission
When an infected person sneezes or coughs, droplets spray into the air. The infected mucus or saliva can land in other people’s noses or throats when they breathe or put their fingers in their mouth, nose, or eyes after touching an infected surface.

Most people infected with the polio virus have no signs of illness and are never aware they have been infected. These symptom less people carry the virus in their intestines and can “silently” spread the infection to thousands of others before the first case of polio paralysis emerges.

So its not just the reported cases that is worrisome but whats even more dangerous and threatening,are the symptom less carriers of polio virus.

This is the height of the seriousness of this issue and Pakistan is poorly failing here.
Its not just terrorism we are at war with, its also a war against polio.

3. Nuisance

And when the people of Pakistan wish to travel abroad for work, visits, tourism they face this hurdle because of the recent strict guidelines given by WHO.

Although the embassies are not openly giving notifications of the requirement of a medical certificate of polio vaccine, they absolutely want it and we are also hearing that in the airports Pakistanis are required to produce a medical certificate.

It will not be long that international airports will open a quick check laboratory just to collect blood samples of Pakistani for safety guidelines.

But at the moment what WHO has done is 100% right, maybe this will bell the cat and our health sector, government, NGOs will actually start taking actions.