Taliban vaccine ban could jeopardize global polio eradication

Watching the video above is enough to inspire us that polio should – and can be – eradicated. Indeed, health teams have made remarkable progress at stamping out the highly infectious paralytic disease. In the past three decades, global polio cases have dropped 99.9%.

But now efforts by the Taliban to ban the vaccine in Pakistan could threaten the progress made so far.

The Taliban has reportedly denounced the vaccine as being part of a Western strategy to sterilise children in the country, and has since launched repeated attacks on health teams attempting to immunise communities. Most recently, a Taliban bomb killed two people when it exploded near a polio vaccination team in northwestern Pakistan.

"The vaccination teams are still going out, but at risk to their lives,” Tariq Bhutta of the Pakistan Pediatric Association told Reuters. “People can come up on motorbikes and shoot them, and they’ve also started attacking the police put there to protect the vaccination teams.”

There is fear that the polio virus is beginning to spread out of isolated pockets and into more densely populated areas of Pakistan, threatening the country with potential new outbreaks of polio. In the last week, four polio cases in children in Pakistan have been reported.

What do you think? Does the spread of polio in Pakistan have potential global implications? Will polio ever be eradicated?

Read more at Reuters >

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