Those involved in immunisation drives said more needs to be done to raise awareness in the region
There is a long way to go before poliovirus is eliminated from Fata as there is lack of awareness about the virus.
“I remember when people would hide their children,” said a teacher who had been part of the campaign, requesting anonymity. “People would bring their children home from schools early to prevent them from being vaccinated against the virus. They feared the vaccines would cause infertility.”
According to the teacher, such perceptions may have changed but have not been completely erased.
Those involved in immunisation drives said more needs to be done to raise awareness in the region.
Emergency Operation Center (EOC) National Coordinator Rana Muhammad Safdar told The Express Tribune before Operation Zarb-e-Azb, polio workers could not inoculate children against the crippling virus and were frequently under attack.
“There was a time when some 0.6 million children were missed across the country which meant the virus was still present and could spread anytime,” Safdar said. “However, once the military operation was launched, many children were immunised.”
“The PM House requested the Chief of Army Staff and law-enforcement agencies to help eliminate the crippling virus from the tribal belt,” he said. “Nine campaigns, including five national immunisation drives, are being held throughout the year.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.