The Emergency Operation Center for Polio Sindh is beginning the fourth anti-polio drive in the province this year. It will go on for four days, ending on April 13th. It is planned to cover 8.6 million children in all of Sindh and 2.4 million in Karachi.
A total of 56,000 frontline workers will carry out the drive with 12,000 being concentrated in Karachi. 5,000 police personnel will also accompany the workers to provide security. Polio workers have been the target of violence in certain communities due to misinformation and suspicion within communities that the polio vaccine is harmful to their children.
Last year, the total number of polio cases in the country were 8, a historic low, 2 of which were reported in Karachi. This year only one case has been reported in Pakistan in the province of Balochistan.
Efforts by provincial governments to eradicate polio have borne fruit as of late. Peshawar was declared polio free by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2014 after being declared the world’s largest reservoir of polio earlier the same year. After a high of 295 recorded cases in 2014, the number has fallen to 8 in 2017.
Pakistan still remains one of the three countries in the world that are yet to eradicate polio, the other two being Nigeria and Afghanistan.