Today was a great day in the global initiative to end polio forever. For the first time in three years, 32,641 children living in the Tirah Valley (near the Pakistan/Afghanistan border), received life-saving polio vaccines and protection against other vaccine-preventable
diseases like measles.
news is exciting because:
- A major step to protect all children in the world from polio is ensuring that vaccinators in the last three countries where polio has never been stopped can reach children who have been persistently missed due to political instability, conflict or misinformation.
- For more than 3,800 of these children this is the first time they have ever received the pentavalent vaccine ( protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and HiB), putting them on the path toward a healthy and productive life. Another
11,000+ children received the measles vaccine, demonstrating the broader benefits of the polio eradication effort.
The prime minister’s top polio eradication official Shahnaz Wazir Ali was
quoted as saying,
"It is a big breakthrough as Tirah was the most difficult area to access for vaccination."
- Pakistan is one of the three remaining countries where polio transmission has never been stopped, along with Nigeria and Afghanistan.
- Pakistan has had 29 cases of polio this year – 13 of which are from this region. While cases of polio nearly doubled in 2011, remarkable progress has been made this year and as a result new polio
cases are down by almost 2/3 compared to this time last year.
- More than one hundred
vaccinator heroes supported by troops for security talked to local elders and community leaders to inform them of the benefits of the polio vaccinations and clear any hesitations they may have had.
- 33 teams of four people administered polio, measles, and other vaccines to children under 5.
- This was a massive effort led by prime minister’s top polio eradication official Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) (the tribal region in northern Pakistan) chief secretary Dr Tashfeen Khan, and Fata Secretary Social Sector Dr.
Aftab Ahmad Durrani and one that can be applied in other conflict-areas of Pakistan.
We are more than 99 percent of the way toward ending polio forever. Keep an eye on the regular progress being made in the global fight against polio
here and check back
here to read more about the incredible work of dedicated vaccinators to protect all children, no matter where they live, from preventable diseases like polio. To take action, go to
www.endpolio.org or sign up to become a global citizen and help end polio and end extreme poverty at