Polio Headlines 19 January, 2022

 
We thought polio was on the edge of being eliminated and now we see four new cases in Afghanistan and one in Pakistan. What happened?
 
For most of 2021, Rotarians celebrated the fact that there had only been 2 new cases of wild polio virus infections in the entire world, one in Pakistan and the other in Afghanistan.  We recently saw two additional cases in Afghanistan which came as no surprise to the experts.
 
As we reported before, polio immunizations in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan had been curtailed for several months because of opposition by the Taliban. This group turned a medical issue into a political issue and impeded vaccination efforts by Rotary with violence. After several of our workers were killed and an Afghanistan clinic set on fire, immunization efforts had to be stopped. At some point in 2020, the Taliban leaders saw no further effort of value in this campaign and let immunizations resume.
 
During that non-immunization period, unvaccinated children were vulnerable and we now see the results. We are optimistic that after the polio drops campaign resumed, we wil see this number go down to zero again and we will be on our way to completing our promise of polio eradication.