Balochistan remains polio free since 2021

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According to a news report by Daily Dawn on 8 Jan 2023, despite facing numerous challenges, Balochistan, despite facing numerous challenges, has successfully maintained its polio-free status for nearly three years since the last case was reported in January 2021.

Despite encountering positive environmental samples, the region’s resilient efforts have effectively kept the poliovirus at bay. This achievement reflects the dedication and hard work of various stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, religious scholars, tribal leaders, and community members.

Balochistan’s success extends beyond statistical triumph, evident in the significant reduction of vaccine refusals by 33% in the Quetta block. The number of children consistently missing vaccination doses for three or more campaigns decreased by 49% in Quetta block districts (Chaman, Qila Abdullah, Pishin, and Quetta).

Approximately 10,000 children, previously hidden due to misconceptions about the polio vaccine, were identified and vaccinated against the crippling disease. Seventy-one percent of zero-dose children in Quetta block were vaccinated through extended outreach activities and on EPI sites. These positive indicators highlight a robust surveillance and vaccination strategy that has effectively navigated the complex landscape of healthcare delivery.

Despite harsh weather conditions and persistent security challenges, the unsung heroes of the polio eradication initiative are the frontline polio workers, especially women. Their commitment, often facing adversity, exemplifies the perseverance required to tackle a public health crisis of this magnitude.

Shahpur Suleman, Social Behavioral Change Specialist at Unicef Balochistan, commended the dedicated efforts of these brave females, acknowledging their sacrifices, such as mothers carrying their children in harsh weather and female workers traveling with family members on motorbikes and tractors. He praised their exemplary dedication, which significantly contributed to reducing refusals by 33% in 2023.

Acknowledgement: Original News was reported by Daily Dawn on January 8, 2024

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