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Polio and politics in Pakistan
  1. Hamza Nasir
  1. Correspondence to Hamza Nasir, Dow University of Health Sciences, Baba-e-Urdu Road, Karachi 75500, Pakistan; h.nasir{at}

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The global polio eradication initiative was launched in 1988, to control and eradicate the polio virus, majorly responsible for causing acute flaccid paralysis in children. The WHO-run programme has been greatly successful, and polio only remains endemic in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, as of 2012.1 Type-2 polio virus has been eradicated, with the last detected case in 1999 in India, the latest country to be declared ‘polio-free’. In 2012, Pakistan reported only 58 cases, compared with 189 in 2011, reflecting a decrease of 65% in the number of cases.2 However, WHO has warned of an impending polio emergency in Pakistan in the coming years due to unforeseen difficulties in child immunisation in 2012.

WHO has recently identified ‘refusal families’ as a major hurdle in antipolio efforts due to decreased immunisation in high-risk populations of the Quetta block (Balochistan Province). …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.