Pakistan to eradicate poliovirus by end of 2023: UNICEF
Regional Director of UNICEF for South Asia George Laryea-Adjei Sunday hoped that the polio virus would be eradicated from Pakistan by the end of 2023.
In an interview with APP, Adjei said the latest figures show that the deadly virus is now under control in the country.
While appreciating the efforts of more than 350,000 polio health workers, he said that the ongoing program to prevent the spread of wild polio virus in 2023 is back on track.
The UNICEF Regional Director added that Pakistan is in a much better position to eradicate the polio virus today than it was a year ago, however there are some challenges that are hindering efforts to eradicate the virus completely.
He expressed concern over the attacks on polio health workers and at the same time praised the courage and bravery of the polio teams.
Highlighting the challenges, he said that the onslaught of back-to-back disasters drought, heatwaves, floods, and acts of violence continued to put millions of children’s lives at risk in Pakistan.
Adjei informed that 110 mobile health teams are providing vital health services to children, youth and women, adding that, UNICEF is also involved in a nationwide measles and rubella vaccination campaign for children under the age of five years in flood-affected districts.
He said the recent catastrophic floods destroyed vital health facilities and exacerbated health risks for millions of children, especially those living in districts historically at the highest risk for polio.
Referring to the impacts of climate change, Adjei said: “The impact is profound throughout South Asia and in 2022 alone, climate-induced floods in Pakistan, Bangladesh, northern India, and Afghanistan left over 15 million boys and girls in need of assistance.”
He pointed out that summers were getting hotter, glaciers melting, sea levels rising, and landslides sweeping away homes and schools.