Islamabad, Oct 25: Pakistan observed the World Polio Day Thursday with an aim to raise awareness among masses about the damage of polio besides gathering support to boost the eradication efforts.
Pakistan is one of the four countries where polio remains endemic, and where many immunisation campaigns have failed to achieve their target, Xinhua reported citing the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports.
In March 2012, the WHO warned Pakistan that if the polio virus was not controlled, it could face serious consequences including travel and visa restrictions by a group of countries across the world.
The warning came after at least 198 polio cases, 30 percent of global cases, were reported in Pakistan in 2011.
Since the start of this year, at least 52 polio cases have been reported so far from across the country with majority of the cases coming from the militancy-hit northwestern tribal regions.
Various organisations and health institutions marked the day with several activities, including awareness walks, seminars, symposium and group discussions.
According to a official, the government has ordered the authorities to reach every child to protect them from this crippling disease.
“Over 16 million children under the age of five were administered drops during the three-day polio eradication drive in the country,” the official said.
The government and development partners claimed to make all possible efforts to make Pakistan a polio-free country and also urged the general public to come forward and support the cause.
Pakistani government has also initiated a move to get the support of parliamentarians, media persons and religious leaders to convince the people who had been refusing to vaccinate their children.
The eradication of polio virus in Pakistan has wider implications on its neighbouring countries like India, which has been taken off the list of polio endemic countries in February 2012. India reported the last wild polio virus type 1 case in Howrah, West Bengal, in January 2011.