Pakistan Launches Country-Wide Anti-Polio Drive 

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan, one of the three countries where polio is still endemic, on Monday launched a country-wide campaign to administer anti-polio drops 39 million children under five years of age.

The campaign aims to provide anti-polio medicine to children in all four provinces as well as Pakistan controlled Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, said national coordinator of polio eradication programme Rana Safdar. 

Our aim to reach 39 million children who are under five years of age, he said.

Safdar urged people to cooperate with polio teams to administer the drops to their children to fight against this crippling disease.

More than 260,000 polio workers are involved in administering anti-polio medicine, he said.

Pakistan is one of the three countries where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Despite efforts, the country has not been able to completely eliminate the disease.

Six cases of polio have been reported so far in 2019. 12 cases were reported in 2018 and 8 in 2017.

Attempts to eradicate the crippling disease have been seriously hampered by deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years by militants, who oppose the drives, claiming the polio drops cause infertility.

Attacks on immunisation teams have claimed 68 lives since December 2012. Earlier this month, member of a polio monitoring team was gunned down on Monday by a man after a verbal brawl during a campaign at a village near Pak-Afghan border. 

In January 2014, three workers were killed while in late 2012, five workers including four female workers were killed in Qayyumabad area.

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