ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has said Pakistan is expected to become polio-free country by next year as the number of cases reported had been reduced to just four this year against hundreds in the past.
In 2014, 306 polio cases had been reported, 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and 8 in 2017. In 2018, only four polio cases had so far been reported from two districts including three from Dukki area of Balochistan and one from Charsadda, according to officials.
Talking to media, Mr. Alvi said all the vaccination teams deserved applause who had been serving to purge the country of this deadly virus despite life threat in certain areas.
The president also appealed the people to extend all out support to the vaccination teams so that the country could get rid of the disease.
He also urged the religious scholars to play their role to nullify the misconceptions about the polio vaccine.
He also lauded the role of armed forces and other security agencies who had been providing security cover to the vaccination teams.
Health minister, who also flanked alongside with president, said the credit for remarkable reduction in polio cases went to the vaccination teams who had been striving to protect the children from deadly disease.
He said Pakistan was one of three polio-endemic countries in the world with Afghanistan and Nigeria being rest two states.
The ongoing three-day drive would target a total of 38.6 million children aged below five including 19.22 million in Punjab, 8.88m in Sindh, 6.75 m in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including tribal districts), 2.5m in Balochistan, 0.7m in AJK, 0.237m in GB and 0.33m children in Islamabad.