Member of National Assembly Azra Afzal Pechuho, focal person for the provincial polio programme, has expressed dissatisfaction over the campaigns that are being carried out in three districts of Mirpur Khas. What is happening is that parents, due to misinformation, are refusing to vaccinate their children. At the same time, vaccinators also tend to go easy during these campaigns and do not make much effort to change the opinion of the people and convince them to vaccinate their children.
This takes Pakistan further away from its goal of polio eradication, and a number of children suffer as a result. The division of Mirpur Khas is failing to change the situation because of lack of input of the officials and the absence of revised statistics regarding the polio campaigns. To measure that impact of any campaign, numerical data is important. If that is not revised, newer goals cannot be set.
Pechuho has requested the monitoring of the immunisation campaigns by the health department. The responsibility has been given to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which oversees such matters. It has also been advised, in a meeting on Saturday, that police cases need to be lodged against parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Parents have the responsibility of looking after their children. If they refuse to acknowledge accurate scientific knowledge for the words of a layman, then they must be punished.
The government of Pakistan has been rigorously making efforts to reduce the epidemic of polio in Pakistan. Efforts include awareness campaigns, and ensuring that misinformation in this regard is reduced to the lowest possible degree. Calculated and targeted efforts have been made in the provinces.
However, such discrepancies can create hurdles in the process of achieving the overall goal of polio eradication. To fulfil the cause, each and every institution must be vigilant. Such mistakes cannot be tolerated, especially when the rest of the provinces are making considerable progress.