(CTN NEWS) – The World Health Organization (WHO), according to a report by ARY News, has opted to prolong travel limitations on Pakistan for an additional three months. This move comes in response to the persistent threat of a polio outbreak.
This determination was made during a session of the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee for the 2005 International Health Regulations. This committee bears the responsibility of overseeing the worldwide propagation of the poliovirus.
Encouraging Environmental Test Results with Lingering Threat
The committee voiced apprehensions regarding Pakistan’s endeavors to counteract polio and its capacity to reach a substantial number of children.
Additionally, it underscored the obstacles encountered by both Pakistan and Afghanistan in their joint pursuits of eradicating polio, as outlined by ARY News.
Recent encouraging environmental test results in Peshawar and Karachi have highlighted the persistent threat of a polio epidemic in Pakistan, as outlined by the committee.
Moreover, the committee informed about the detection of a fresh case of Wild Poliovirus Type 1 (WPV1) in Pakistan in 2023, raising the total count for the year to 2 cases. Both instances were reported in the Bannu district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
Notwithstanding the immunization of an additional 160,000 children in southern KP through an action plan, the committee stressed the ongoing difficulties in the area.
Challenges and Concerns in Polio Eradication Efforts: Pakistan’s Situation and Afghan Connection
These include political instability, security concerns necessitating police escorts for frontline workers, and instances of vaccine refusal, as detailed by ARY News.
Regarding Afghanistan, the emergency committee divulged the emergence of five new WPV1 cases in Nangarhar province since the previous assembly.
It also cautioned that any setback in Afghanistan’s efforts to eradicate polio presents a threat to Pakistan due to substantial population movement between the two nations.
The committee issued a warning about the constant danger of WPV1 resurgence in the southern region, attributing it to the ongoing transmission in eastern Afghanistan, cross-border transmission into Pakistan, and a sizable population of unvaccinated children in southern Afghanistan.
Per the guidelines set by WHO’s International Travel and Health, all travelers should receive the complete polio vaccine.
Individuals residing in or visiting affected areas for over 4 weeks should additionally receive another dose of either oral polio vaccine (OPV) or inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) within 4 weeks to 12 months after their travel, according to ARY News reports.
In conclusion, the World Health Organization’s decision, as reported by ARY News, to extend travel restrictions on Pakistan for an additional three months underscores the ongoing and persistent threat of a polio outbreak.
This determination was reached during a session of the WHO’s Emergency Committee for the 2005 International Health Regulations, which holds the responsibility of monitoring the global spread of the poliovirus.
The committee expressed concerns about Pakistan’s efforts to combat polio and its ability to effectively reach a significant number of children.
This sentiment was reinforced by the challenges faced by both Pakistan and Afghanistan in their joint endeavors to eliminate polio, as highlighted by ARY News.
The recent favorable environmental tests in Peshawar and Karachi have brought to light the enduring risk of a polio epidemic in Pakistan.
Additionally, the identification of a new case of Wild Poliovirus Type 1 (WPV1) in Pakistan in 2023, bringing the year’s total to 2 cases, signifies the ongoing battle against the virus.
These cases were concentrated in the Bannu district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
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