KARACHI: Senior researcher and pediatrician Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta has suggested urgent measures to bundle polio immunizations into health-care packages that include vaccines for other diseases such as measles and diphtheria.
Registering his concern about new cases of polio being reported in the country he said provision for basic medical services, including polio vaccination, to children in Pakistan’s poorest and most conflict-ridden areas was the key to ending polio worldwide.
“Governments at both provincial and federal levels ought to accord top priority to improved basic health services ultimately paving way for polio eradication in the country,” he said Friday.
Dr Bhutta, the founding director of the Centre for Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University also referred to the fact that vast majority of polio cases in Pakistan are occurring in tribal areas where polio-vaccination programmes, which are better resourced than other health campaigns, are regarded with suspicion by some.
“Moreover, thousands of people in these areas have been displaced, and could now be accessible to polio workers for the first time in years,” maintained the researcher.
Dr Bhutta suggested that the government and health agencies ought to devote their energies to scaling up immunization efforts in these populations.