ISLAMABAD – Officials in the northwestern part of the country bordering Afghanistan launched a new anti-polio drive on Monday, more than a week after identifying the third case so far this year.
Pakistan has conducted two anti-polio campaigns earlier this year, after discovering a single case of the disease last year, in January and March, raising hopes that the country is close to eradicating polio. The first case was filed in April this year.
The country’s polio program spokesman said. A statement from Shahbaz Beg called on parents to support polio workers in their door-to-door campaign.
Pakistan’s anti-polio campaigns are characterized by regular violence Islamic militants often target polio teams and the police assigned to protect them, falsely claiming that vaccination campaigns are a Western conspiracy to sterilize children.
During the March campaign, gunmen shot and killed a female polio worker in northwest Pakistan as she was returning home after being vaccinated one day. And in January, gunmen shot and killed a police officer guarding polio vaccinators in the country’s northwest.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only remaining countries in the world that are still trying to eradicate polio, which can cause serious paralysis in children.