Tuesday, September 26

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria: the only Polio Infected countries of the world!


Polio is a disease that has been wiped out from the entire world except these three countries namely Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Polio can be defined as a disease that is infectious in nature. Its usual appearance is among children. Polio causes permanent paralysis of different body parts and the victim might even die as it can cause immobility of breathing muscles.

When the world discovered that the diseases can only be transmitted through fecal-oral route and that animals cannot host it, it became evident that the disease could be eradicated form the world. The disease tends to spread only where poor sanitation is observed. The places where proper washrooms are absent and people use open places to discharge feces.

The vaccine that would help fight against polio was developed in 1950s. By 1970s the developed and rich countries were able to eradicate the disease. Yet still 125 countries reported cases of polio. Eventually, in 1988 “Global Polio Eradication Initiative” (GPEI) was founded to eradicate polio worldwide. By 2016, only three countries have reported existence of polio.

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The only reason that polio still exists in these countries is that children are not given timely polio vaccine. People are reluctant to give their children the vaccine in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. These countries are Muslim majority countries who have a belief that the vaccine might contain elements that are prohibited in their religion.

In Nigeria, most of the children are left out due to poor campaigns where some children are not reached. However, the positive sign is that even in these countries the polio cases have significantly reduced and we hope that the disease is eradicated from these countries as well.

Today, World health Organization, Rotary, UNICEF, U.S Centers for disease control prevention and Bills and Melinda Gates Foundation are working on eradicating polio under the campaign named “every last child”.

The WHO views that once the disease is eradicated, we can halt the development of the vaccine so that economic costs of its production can be reduced. This way the countries can focus of other initiatives and can help look into other beneficial tasks.

A temporary travel guide has been issued by the WHO for those who travel from and to the polio infected countries. People coming from these countries shall be given polio vaccine and those travelling to these countries shall also get themselves vaccinated against polio.

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